In Defence of JP
Before you get riled up and ready yourself to dump on this post, I’d like to make it clear that I’m not going to suggest that JP is the second coming of Pat Gillick. In fact, I’m not a big fan of JP and his public persona agitates me. That said; what prompted me to write this post is that I believe that JP is overly criticized – Toronto Media especially love to exaggerate to incite. It’s easy to make the case against JP. The team is no closer to a division title, let alone World Series Championship, today than it was the day JP started. And yes, success is measured in wins and losses. Based on that alone, the “brain trust” at Rogers would have every right to terminate JP and try someone else.
While I admit that I have not have done a lot of research on the topic, allowing the TSM readers to refute my arguments, I do believe there arguments to support (or at least defend) JP’s work with the Jays. I’d like to share a few points to see if you too agree that while not perfect, JP has not done as poorly as most suggest. I look forward to getting ripped with your commentsJ.
Rios & Wells
JP gets criticized for the contracts he handed out to Rios and Wells. Neither player has lived up to their contracts – agreed. I ask you this. What would have happened (at the time) had JP passed on both players and not tied them up? I say JP would have been severely bashed in the media and both players would have been scooped up and received the same – if not more from other teams.
Trades and Free Agents
Not a stellar record here…but actually a lot of no harm no faul moves on the trade front especially. Did anyone criticize the BJ Ryan acquisition? Yes, it’s JPs fault that his arm died abruptly. Anyone have an issue with the Rolen for Glaus deal? How about the deal to grab Marco Scutaro? How about AJ Burnett? Was it JP’s fault that he didn’t have the cash to retain this FA pick up? I know, I know….Frank Thomas. Fans were optimistic but yeah, that one sucked and everyone was suspicious at the time.
You have to admit; he’s done fairly well here – or at least as far as we can tell at this point.
Marc W Rzepczynski
More interesting is his strategy to grab as many pitchers as possible. What is the most difficult and costly commodity to acquire via trade or free agency? I like what JP is doing. He’s playing the numbers game. Grab as many pitching prospects as you can so that you end up with some solid home groomed major league talent. Then use your cash and perhaps excess arms to fill out the rest of the roster….which are cheaper and easier to get via other means….smart move. We’ll see how that plays out in the next year or two…a time when he can truly reap the rewards of his strategy over the past few years.
The Jays payroll is in the middle of the pack….not awful. Problem is that they play in a division with the Sox and Yankees. The real issue is that if JP wanted to spend to put them over the top, he doesn’t have the money to do so. An $80M payroll is fine during a re-build….but, when ready to go for it….the cash is simply not there. Rogers needs to hear it more from the fans. If we had Yankee, Mets or Sox money, we’d still have AJ and who knows who else. When the Jays won their championships, they were at or near the top of the payroll list.
So there you have it….just a few points to consider when before you call JP a terrible GM. No, he might not be the best and yes he has a brutal public persona but….in my humble opinion, he has been unfairly judged…..but what do I know. He has freed up $11M by moving Rolen for young arms and it looks like he’s been able to dump another $10M (next years salary) by moving Rios. Work one of the young / cheap outfielders into the line up next year and add in 1-3 of the injured arms into the rotation and JP has the makings for a better team next year…..use some of the money saved on Rolen and Rios and who knows. It might not e enough to win next year but perhaps get close enough that Rogers agrees to add to the payroll…net result, Roy sticks around and they add more talent to put them over the edge. Okay, the last part of this post might indicate that I’ve nodded off into dreamland….sorry.