J.P. Swears J.P. is not a Liar.
Last night was the Blue Jays “State of the Franchise” event. For a full summary of the event, check out Baseball Digest Daily. Most of the questions were either tame, tired, or silly, but J.P. did manage to drop a bombshell at the end when he said in rather direct terms that the Jays were the ones who turned down the Rios for Lincecum trade. For a Tourette’s-style recap of how silly a suggestion this is, you know where to go. Here’s the entire exchange to put it in (lowbrow) context:
“And another question. Why anybody would think you would trade Alex Rios. I don’t know if any true baseball fan has seen an arm like that in their lifetime. My (Mike?) jumping out of their chair seeing Alex Rios getting someone at the plate, from the WALL, is unbelievable. The question is: would you have ever actually looked at trading someone like Rios for Lincecum or Matt Cain? Because Lincecum has the worst delivery I’ve ever seen. It’s like, built to destroy his arm. That’s the question. (laughter).”
And then the statement in question (questionable statement?):
I think it’s our job to explore every possible option that’s out there…when you see the Santana’s of the world getting 150 million dollar and the Zitos’ of the world getting 120 million dollars, you realize the value of getting pitching and how tough it is. When we were presented with that, we thought long and hard. And obviously we value Rios more than we valued the other guy, and that’s why he’s still here.
I have no problem at all with J.P. lying through his teeth on a regular basis. In fact, I’m all for it. Even if he knew at the start of spring training last year that Ryan was toast, as long as it didn’t influence the medical decision on what to do with him, if saying that the problem was with his back rather than his elbow made it .01% easier for him to try and find someone on the reliever market or took any of the pressure off B.J. in spring training, then I am 100% in favour of telling us monkeys whatever garbage he thinks up. That’s his job. The media getting all moralistic about some sort of responsibility to tell the truth is just them feeling hurt and being self-serving. Would you rather have better information about your team or a better team? It’s a no-brainer, and happens in every sport.
But this just seems like a bizarre one to even suggest. There was not a single sign that the Jays were in the driver’s seat here. I guess it’s possible that they offered Rios for Cain and were counter-offered Lincecum, but that’s just not how any of the timetable for the deal or the comments made surrounding it played out. Anyway, all we can do is chuckle and hope for some sort of response. In the meantime, here’s the minutae of the event that didn’t make it onto BDD:
- The Jays are the only team in MLB that has had 5 consecutive years of rising attendance, up 800,000 from 1.6 million. The only other team is the Dodgers and the Jays have grown faster than they have. Think J.P’s job is in jeopardy if the Jays don’t make the playoffs? Think again. It’s a business and he’s making it boom. End of story.
- This year the Jays are already just under 1 million in ticket sales, which is by far the best they have been at so far.
- The short-term plan for catcher is Zuan, and the mid-term plan is Zaun (I have no idea what that means).
- Rios and Wells have a green light to steal
Also, J.P. came out strongly and repeatedly in defense of Gibbons. I know he has to, but a couple of quotes seemed to go above and beyond the call of deflecting the routine managerial attacks:
“I think he did a very admirable job with a banged up club…there’s a lot of things in the clubhouse that happened that you guys aren’t privy to, and the players like playing for him and because of that leadership we have been able to have a few winning years.”
“I see the workings of the team day in and day out. I see how the players respond…we were built to have two good years the last two years and were decimated with injuries. If you brought Connie Mack back he wouldn’t get you 100 wins with those kinds of injuries.”
“We disagree and that’s fine, but I see the way that players respond to him, and I see the things that are done behind closed doors, and I think that John is going to be a very good manager for a long time.
Hmmm….that’s two references to “behind closed doors”. Was there some controversy that was hushed up last season? The only thing I can think of is Towers mouthing off and Zaun and Thomas jawing over who can use the exercise equipment. Anyway, J.P. wasn’t just trying to placate the crowd like he did on other issues- he was adamant that Gibbons is better than he was getting credit for.
My last shot is an incredibly awkward exchange between him and a woman with an absolutely lovely English accent. Ever known one of those guys who knows he’s smart and is such a good liar he just doesn’t put enough effort into it sometimes? When asked why only 2 regulars played during “fan appreciation night” at the end of last year, he (obviously anticipating this one) quickly fired off in defense:
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I guarantee you next year you’ll have more players there, you have my word.”
But she didn’t let go of the microphone:
“It was all over the papers the next day, that the fans were unhappy about it.”
And he went super-lame:
“No, no, I understand that. But I didn’t know who showed up. Now that I know, I guarantee you’ll have more players there.”
So you’re the general manager, you knew that fans were upset, but it took some random person to tell you why for you to make it your personal mission to ensure that such a travesty will never happen again…HAHAHAHA. I’ll say it again- if it’s what he has to do, Ricciardi could look me in the eye and say that the Jays are training on the moon to improve muscle mass for all I care…but can we get a tiny bit more plausible here?!