I dunno, I think Griffin is a fine source, he's been following the team regularly for years and often has some interesting opinions about what they're doing. Actually, a lot of what he said about Thomas in that article is the same sort of stuff I had said about him here a day before.
So you would say walks are a bad thing for someone like Frank Thomas? Who are you, really? Dusty Baker?
At the end of the day, Thomas brought a lot of negatives to the team (e.g. the position inflexibility) that don't get captured in the stats. And the stats do not reflect that the Jays' season was lost for good last year in April and May, during which Thomas was brutal.
The Jays lost their season last year early because of injuries and terrible pitching, not because of Frank Thomas.
His immobility and inability to play defence hindered the team. Yes we all knew that was going to be the case from the beginning.. but the blame for belongs with JP for signing the guy to a contract that a lot of people never thought could be justified from the beginning. The $10M player option just makes the contract infinitely worse, since it is likely the primary reason they released him now rather than giving him more AB's to snap out of things. A good GM wouldn't give his flexibility away just to sign a guy in the first place.. it is so much like the way JFJ gave all those no-trade clauses to overpriced Leafs past their expiry dates, that crippled that team too.
Fair enough. But Frank Thomas still was basically what the Jays expected him to be last year. He did pretty much exactly what they were paying him for.
Mookie started a good list of moves JP's done that haven't panned out..
Actually, it looks like Mookie just listed practically every move he's ever made, without much regard as to whether it ended well for the team. If I remember correctly, both Fullmer and Mondesi were salary dumps. The Felipe Lopez trade looked pretty bad a few years ago, but he isn't even an adequate starter at the major league level anymore. The Shannon Stewart was basically a salary dump, where we got Bobby Kielty, who we moved to get Ted Lilly, an obvious success. We came out WAY ahead on Mark Hendrickson for Justin Speier. Then, it's not like either Josh Phelps or Eric Crozier panned out. Chad Gaudin for Dustin Majewski...yeah I'm still not sure why they let him go for nothing, but he isn't anywhere near as good as his stats indicated last year. He's more of a future reliever, in my opinion. As for Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson for Troy Glaus, who we turned into Scott Rolen....well the jury is still clearly out there. We now have a 2B who is a better player overall than Hudson, and younger as well, someone who JP drafted.
I think he's totally correct that the negatives outweigh the positives. Even moves that look good on paper are questionably timed.. like signing Molina last minute for big $ after suggeting Zaun had the starting job.. then trying to give Barajas the starting job last winter before getting turned down and having to go gack to Zaun. Then giving McDonald a nice contract this year (suggesting he had a F-T role) and then going out and signing Eckstein and Scutaro. How can you get respect from the players doing that. The revolving door at 3B has been humorous (big contract to Hinske, then big contract to Koskie, then Hillenbrand, etc.)
The signing Molina at the last minute was one of the best moves he's made as a GM so far. That helped us immensely that season. I still don't get why he tried to give Barajas the starting job, but it all worked out eventually, we have Zaun AND Barajas for cheaper than we would have gotten them otherwise. The Eckstein signing is pretty much an exact copy of the Molina one, and the jury is still out there. If only they played JMac in the late innings, then it would make a lot of sense to me what they did.
And I can't understand why people criticize the signing of Eric Hinske...he was the AL ROY, and looked like he was in for a very good future. We signed Vernon Wells at the same time for basically the same amount, and that turned into an amazing deal.
And JP got Hillenbrand for Adam Peterson...likely the best trade he'd made as a GM...until he traded Hillenbrand for Accardo.
And the whole fiasco with BJ Ryan last year, you can't trust a word that comes out of his mouth.
As I've said before, that isn't anything unusual. All GM's do this, he just got caught in a massive lie because the situation didn't work itself out as expected.
For years the big excuse was that they didn't have enough $ for salary to compete.. now that the payroll is significantly larger, it still makes no difference the way he spends it indiscriminately.
We're still only average in the league in payroll, it's simply not good enough to win.
Then there are just his whole 'theories' of never stealing bases or bunting and waiting for HR's, which I think for a long time (until this year thank god) made the team less exciting and more predictable and offensively challenged. And there were also the Hillenbrand and Lilly incidents, where the team looked like a joke; even if Gibbons was the one on the front lines, JP was still the guy in charge during all of that and he explicitly endorsed it.
Bunting is one of the most worthless things a team can do to score runs, and if they started stealing with a bunch of slow players, that would hurt even worse. If we'd have been doing that over the years, I cant imagine how bad the Jays would have been.
The Hillenbrand and Lilly incidents were on Gibbons, but I actually maintain that John did the right thing in those situations. And again...we got Jeremy Accardo out of the Shea Hillenbrand situation. Hardly a bad thing.
Bottom line is this is JP's 7th year, this has been completely his team for a few years, the Jays have not made the playoffs, heck they haven't even been in a September playoff race for that matter, many of their big-$ moves have been failures, they have not drafted well (as noted their farm system is regarded among the worst), and on top of that on a number of occasions now they have looked like absolute clueless morons. When this team was winning they never had an organizational culture like that; heck, even in the Gord Ash years they lost a lot but they were still generally respected for the way they conducted their business. This current group can't even seem able to achieve that much. By any standard that one would use to evaluate the quality of how an individual runs an organization, I don't see how JP's tenure can be considered anything less than a failure at this point. What has the organization done well since he's been around?.. I honestly have difficulty pinpointing it.
His drafting hasn't been nearly as bad as people say it has. Marcum, Hill, and Litsch are major contributors on this year's team, and Lind will soon be starting in LF, probably by the end of this week. They've also used his draftees to make trades, such as Dave Bush and Zach Jackson.
So yes, while I agree with you (it's been a while now, and I wouldn't be agaisnt change), JP Ricciardi isn't nearly as bad a GM as some of you say he is. He's been merely mediocre, just like this organization has been for 15 years now.