J.P. Ricciardi falls on his sword:
Toronto Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi refuses to make any excuses about his club’s dismal performance this season and willingly takes the blame.
“I take full responsibility for what’s going on,” Ricciardi said last night as the Jays wrapped up a four-game series against the Rangers.
“The team’s not playing well. Obviously we’re not happy with that, but someone has to be held accountable and I accept that responsibility.”
There’s long been a sense out there that Ricciardi has been hamstrung and controlled by his bosses in ways that a lot of other GMs aren’t. He is rumored to have been forced to sign Vernon Wells and Alex Rios to those gigantic contracts against his better judgment and, as this article makes clear, his projected payroll was radically and abruptly scaled-back after the death of Ted Rogers last winter.
In light of that — and in light of Ricciardi’s historic lack of humility — one wonders what, exactly, he’s taking the blame for. Maybe he’s just sick of it all and is begging to be put out of his misery. The cynic in me, however, wonders if he has been given assurances that his job will be secure in exchange for taking a P.R. shot for upper management.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.