Blue Jays Off To A Hot Start: Is Ricciardi Actually a Good GM?

David Aaron LindsayContributor IMay 15, 2009

CLEVELAND - APRIL 10: Marco Scutaro #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Aaron Hill  #2 and  Vernon Wells #10 after scoring against the Cleveland Indians in the seventh inning April 10, 2009 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Let's get one thing straight, I have bashed and criticized J.P. Ricciardi as much as anyone over the past year or two. But I will admit I have been on this J.P. Ricciardi roller coaster just like everyone else.

I was really high on him when he was first hired. Next I questioned a couple of his early moves and draft picks (Delgado, Romero etc). Then I was back on board when he started spending money and drafting high schoolers. And finally, or so I thought, I was done with him after last year. I had come to terms with his tenure here and I was all set to move on.

Cue your 2009 Toronto Blue Jays. Many things have already been written about the Blue Jays hot start, and if it continues, many more things will be written. Fans are chattering about a lot of things.

They like to discuss whether or not it will continue, which players are just on a streak and which players are actually breaking out and establishing themselves, whether Doc will win 20 or 30, which pitcher will be the next one to step up with a quality start. But no one is talking about the architect of this team: J.P. Ricciardi.

The underlying story to this hot start is that, IF and only IF it actually continues and the Jays end up making the playoffs, fans will be faced with a difficult realization: J.P. Ricciardi might actually a quality GM and has done a good job based on what he had to work with.

Much was made of his "3 year plan" or his "5 year plan". Truth be told, putting parameters on this teams turnaround and return to competitiveness may actually have hurt his public perception when it didn't happen quite as fast as he promised.He really didn't do himself any favors by trying to quantify it like that.

Also, enough is enough with this "well, all the big stars on this team were here when he got here" stuff. The fact is, this is Ricciardi's team. He has either drafted, traded for, or decided to keep any and all players on this roster.

Let's examine his fingerprints on this current roster:

He resigned Halladay at a HUGE discount; great move.

He decided to keep and therefore resigned Rios and Wells, under performing players so far for sure, but many still consider these two to be the best two hitters on the team.

He showed patience with a guy that was slow to develop when many others in the same situation would have simply cast him aside. See Dustin McGowan.

He has continually demonstrated the ability to recycle retread relievers from other teams and turn them into useful pieces. See Downs, Camp, Carlson, Frasor, Tallet, Wolfe, etc.

He drafted our top three young hitters; Hill, Snider and Lind.

He stockpiled arms and drafted very good, albeit slow to develop at times, starting pitchers. See Marcum, Litsch, Cecil, Romero, Purcey, not to mention several other guys in the minors that could basically be called up at any time.

Has mixed in some good character veteran guys who have tasted winning to help even out the clubhouse; Rolen and Millar.

Basically, I think this Ricciardi roller coaster might not be over with. All things considered, I know I am on the way back up with him. So here's to hoping we just aren't getting to the top of one of those 90 degree drops where we free fall 200 feet, or in this case knockoff an 18-20 game losing streak.

I have nothing against Ricciardi personally, it's not like I am rooting for him to fail, so if this team succeeding means I have to eat a little humble pie and admit I was wrong to write him off last year, so be it. Cause at the end of the day, you're in it to win it, and it sure feels great as a fan to be watching this team perform at such a high level regardless of who built it.