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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.