Both Padres and Blue Jays fire GMs


The San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays are ready to restructure. After both teams failed to make the postseason yet again, the higher-ups have decided to ax their general managers. The Padres chose to cut Kevin Towers, who has been with the organization since 1995, a tenure longer than any active GM. Not to be outdone, the Blue Jays gave J.P. Ricciardi the boot after his eight-year campaign.

Per the San Diego Union Tribune

Padres CEO Jeff Moorad thinks of Kevin Towers as “a gunslinger,” and, he added, “a masterful one, at that.” What he wants is someone who can put more of the “general” in general manager.

Strategic thinking is the crucial quality Moorad is seeking as he attempts to steer the Padres in a new direction following 14 years of Towers’ sometimes seat-of-the-pants stewardship. Moorad wants to rebuild his baseball operation from its foundation, to develop detailed short-, mid-and long-term plans, and he has decided that Towers is not the right fit for those responsibilities.

Moorad declined to discuss specific candidates, except to say that his search had not been internal. Arizona Vice President Jerry DiPoto, who joined the Diamondbacks during Moorad’s tenure in Phoenix, is considered a leading contender. Pat Gillick, who built World Series champions in Toronto and Philadelphia, has said he might leave semi-retirement at age 72 for the right situation “on the West Coast.”

Per the Toronto Star

The Jays issued a terse release at 10:38 a.m. announcing that Ricciardi has stepped down from his role that he had filled since Nov. 14, 2001, eight seasons without a post-season berth.

Replacing him will be 32-year-old Alex Anthopoulos, a native of Montreal. He joined the Jays in 2003 and was named an assistant GM under Ricciardi after the 2005 season. Anthopoulos attended McMaster University, majoring in economics, getting his first job in baseball with the Expos in 2000, in media relations.

Although both of these guys leave behind losing records, they did have their share of accomplishments. Towers guided the Padres to division titles in 1996 and ’98, and 2005 and ’06. In addition to the Padres posting four consecutive winning seasons from 2004-07, Towers was known for orchestrating seemingly impossible deals, such as the one that sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Chris Young from Texas for Adam Eaton, Billy Killian and Akinori Otsuka. Still, let’s face it, he wasn’t given the resources later in his career to push his team past the Dodgers. Towers is respected for his talents and shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job this offseason.

As for J.P Ricciardi, he won 86 games in his second season, 2003, 87 in 2006, and 86 in 2008. He also oversaw the development of draft choices and current fan favorites Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, and Ricky Romero. Nevertheless, the Blue Jays never once made the playoffs during Ricciardi’s eight seasons as GM. You know Roy Halladay isn’t too pleased about that.

It’s worth noting that Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is probably on his way out as well. Apparently, many players on the team are asking for his immediate replacement. I like this, Toronto. You guys are ready to play ball once again.

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Ricciardi: ‘Slim chance Halladay gets traded.’

Blue Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi indicates that there’s a very slim chance that a trade involving ace Roy Halladay will happen.

“We’ve said that we would listen, but that we would have to be motivated and ‘wowed,'” Ricciardi said. “Right now we haven’t been. I’ve said all along my gut tells me I won’t be. I still stand by that.”

Ricciardi said his Tuesday deadline for moving Halladay is “not etched in stone,” and stopped short of saying that he might end the discussions before Friday’s deadline for completing trades without waivers.

“If we get to the last week and haven’t really made any progress with anybody, I’m not going to say it’s 100 percent certain, but I would have to pretty much think it’s not going to get done,” Ricciardi said.

Some rival executives are skeptical that the Jays will trade Halladay. Others believe that Ricciardi is merely posturing in an attempt to receive better offers, with one calling it a “game of chicken.”

I maintain the notion that Ricciardi was never going to trade Halladay this year unless he was so blown away by an offer that he couldn’t pass it up. Halladay isn’t a free agent until after the 2010 season, so Ricciardi could have used this past month as a demo for next year and to gauge what he could potentially get for the ace. Plus, he probably didn’t want to risk alienating the Toronto fans, which were fooled by the club’s hot play in April and May.

If he can get an absolutely haul for Halladay by Friday’s deadline, then Ricciardi will pull the trigger. But an offer for anything less than multiple top prospects and the “Doc” isn’t going anywhere.

Blue Jays unlikely to trade Halladay

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi has set a July 28 deadline to complete a deal for ace Roy Halladay, but admits that a trade is probably unlikely.

“At this point, it’s probably unlikely that we’ll trade Doc,” Ricciardi said Tuesday.

“No one has really stepped up yet,” Ricciardi said. “We’ve got to be highly motivated to move him. We haven’t been highly motivated yet.”

“In three days, not much is probably going to happen,” Ricciardi said. “It’s such a magnitude, the trade. He’s got to OK the team he’s going to, we’ve got to agree on prospects. That doesn’t happen, traditionally in baseball, in one hour. I think we need a little more time than that.”

If a trade is unlikely, then I have to question Ricciardi’s thinking behind putting Halladay (somewhat) on trade market in the first place. Granted, he’s said all along that he would have to be blown away by any offer, but what was he expecting?

If he believed that some team was just going to swoop in and offer him three top prospects and a bona fide All-Star for Halladay without even attempting to do the negotiation dance, then Ricciardi has been in la-la land the entire time. Halladay is a phenomenal pitcher and could easily make a playoff contender into a World Series favorite, but the Doc is also 32, doesn’t come cheap, and becomes a free agent in a year and a half. That’s a lot to consider for a team even remotely interested in him, nevertheless one seriously entertaining putting a package together.

I think Ricciardi never had serious intentions on trading Halladay in the first place. Putting Halladay on the trade market this year was essentially a practice round for him next year when he will actually have to move the ace before Doc becomes a free agent after the 2010 season. With the Jays freefalling out of first place following a red-hot start, Ricciardi couldn’t risk the backlash he would receive trading away the club’s most popular player.

While there’s still a chance he could be dealt, it appears that Halladay is going to be a Blue Jay until this time next year.

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