Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why is Ricciardi such an ***hole?

Via mlb.com:
"We're aware that Zaunie is unhappy," Ricciardi told MLB.com. "We wish he wouldn't go through the media with it. We wish he would come to us, especially knowing we have a good relationship. Unfortunately, right now, there are no takers for him. If there are, we'll definitely oblige him.

"I think we've been a little bit more proactive than maybe Zaunie thinks. "Part of making a trade is someone has to want you. Right now, there's no one that has expressed an interest in him. That's where we're at." (I must say I don't know where to insert a 'sic' for that extraneous quotation mark before "Part.")
Are there seriously no takers for Zaun, who has been an above average catcher offensively throughout his Toronto tenure? Maybe his D ain't so good, but he'd be a reasonable upgrade for several contending teams. He's not worse than Barajas, so there's no real reason for his lack of playing time in Toronto. And Ricciardi only mentions KC and Florida as teams he has talked to, without addressing the obvious matter that NYY and BOS are seemingly the major players in the market looking for a catcher. If you want to say that you haven't elected to talk to teams in your division about dealing him, that's okay, but the notion that the Yankees wouldn't be interested in Zaun sounds, you know, ridiculous to me, with the caveat that the Yankees are capable of any number of ridiculous things. Ricciardi is trying to give quotes that let him have it both ways, like he has done for years; the only problem is that he has not proven especially good at this skill.

It could be true that Ricciardi is correct in that other teams don't want Zaun, but were that the case, shouldn't he be pointing out how foolish they are being? He's about an average catcher with a ~$3.6mm salary and if I'm not mistaken the club can pick up a $3.75mm 2009 option, which is way cheap for a player of his caliber. His comments come across as basically saying that Zaun isn't good enough to trade for, and I'll wager you an Adam Dunn rookie card that Ricciardi ain't so great at knowing which MLB players are worth trading for. I actually think that Toronto isn't quite as clueless as many have made them out to be, but Ricciardi continues to do very clueless things in public that betray not just a lack of understanding of baseball value but also a disturbing streak of misanthropy. I find it particularly galling since Zaun was one of the strongest arguments around for Ricciardi's competence: he was a pretty bad player before Ricciardi signed him in April 2004 and has been among the best scrap heap finds in baseball over the last five years. Off the top of my head, he is the only unmitigated success Ricciardi has had in acquiring major league players for Toronto, although I could be mistaken (I did a JP Ricciardi study a few months ago but it is on a currently downed computer).


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