According to ESPN.com's Adam Rubin, the New York Mets have hired former Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi as a special assistant to Sandy Alderson. Alderson was introduced as the new general manager of the New York Mets just last week and now the Mets have already brought in yet another brilliant baseball mind. Ricciardi could have been the general manager of the Mets himself so essentially, the Mets now have two general managers.
This is actually a bit of a homecoming for Riccardi, who was an infielder in the Mets' minor league system in the early 1980s. Ricciardi and Alderson have previously worked together, in the same capacity, for the Oakland Athletics in 1996.
Ricciardi became the GM of the Blue Jays in 2001, signed a five year extension after the 2002 season and received an extension through 2010 at the end of the 2005 season. During his time with the Blue Jays, Ricciardi signed free agents A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan and created an excellent bullpen during the 2008 season by acquiring Scott Downs, Briant Tallet, Jesse Carlson and Shawn Camp. That year's team lead the majors in ERA (3.49) and bullpen ERA (2.94).
Ricciardi joined ESPN as an analyst on Baseball Tonight in February 2010.
The Mets are really making massive changes now. Getting rid of Omar Minaya was the right thing, obviously. Bringing in Alderson as his replacement was a good hire and the right more. But now they've brought in yet another front office head who could have easily been the new GM, essentially doubling their brain-trust.
Ricciardi is an excellent judge of pitching talent (he drafted Ricky Romero for example) and will hopefully assist Alderson in building a solid starting rotation for the Mets in 2011. A starting rotation of Johan Santana (coming off of surgery again), Mike Pelfrey (please stop licking your hands), Jonathan Niese (something to look forward to?), and R.A. Dickey (N.L. Comeback Player of the Year?) doesn't get the fans too excited.
Alderson has already said that the Mets aren't going to be very "aggressive" in the off season, but perhaps Ricciardi will be able to find some quality, low-cost starting pitching and relief pitching to bring into Spring Training in 2011.