Two Men Who Can Help the Mets: J.P. Ricciardi and Kevin Towers

Over the past 24 hours, two MLB general managers were relieved of their duties.

New Padres owner Jeff Moorad fired Kevin Towers and the Blue Jays let go J.P. Ricciardi.

Ricciardi was the golden boy oft-mentioned in Moneyball, but was unable to turn his saber-magic into success in Toronto.

The article summed up his tenure thusly:

The 2009 campaign was a microcosm of Ricciardi’s tenure as GM. There was a hopeful start, a sudden collapse, a lack of resources to turn things around, a spate of injuries, some painful decisions related to bad contracts and ultimately, pessimism for the future.

Ricciardi didn’t exactly employ Moneyball tactics in Toronto — in fact it was his irresponsible, unBeanelike contract decisions that contributed to his firing (for example: 2 years/$18M for Frank Thomas; 5-year deal for BJ Ryan; opt-out for AJ Burnett; long-term, expensive deals for Vernon Wells and Alex Rios).

Though his record as a GM is unimpressive, Ricciardi was spectacular as a scout, special assistant, and director of player personnel in Oakland. It’s doubtful anyone will consider him for another GM position anytime soon — particularly after the way he handled (bumbled) the Roy Halladay situation this season, and his ill-conceived, public comments regarding Adam Dunn last year. A return to a less-public position in someone’s front office would make sense. As you may know, Ricciardi began his baseball career in the New York Mets organization — he was a Rookie League and A-ball teammate of Billy Beane in the early 1980s. As you also may know, the Mets are rebuilding their front office, and in need of a special assistant and/or director of player personnel.

Similarly, the Mets could be in the market for someone like Kevin Towers, who is leaving San Diego after 15 years as the Padres GM. You don’t spend that much time in a position unless you’re doing something right — and Towers did a fine job keeping stability and executing successful rebuilding phases under the constraints of what was usually a small-market budget.

It appears that the Mets are going to give Omar Minaya at least another year to right the ship, but he could benefit from (or be pushed by) Towers’ presence — say as an assistant GM. Towers’ eye for finding talent off the scrap heap and his ability to make shrewd deals would be helpful with the anticipated cut in payroll.

The Mets are in the midst of making big changes in their organization, and will be hiring new faces. Here are two with proven track records who can make an immediate and positive impact.

It would be a nice departure from their previous strategy of putting into place, people who have no experience, qualifications, nor credentials for their assigned jobs.

**** UPDATE *************************

Joel Sherman reports that Omar Minaya could be considering both Ricciardi and Towers.


Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Andy October 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm
    Joe, maybe you should send the Mets your CV! Fancy moving to Buffalo as a coach/trainer type?
  2. joejanish October 4, 2009 at 1:20 am
    Why set my sights so low? I’m shooting for the stars … one day I hope to appear on Jeopardy! and win the final round by scribbling on the blue card: “What is the Value Over Replacement Player” !!!!

    Now THAT would be fancy!

  3. gary s. October 4, 2009 at 9:43 am
    Joe, gee, what a surprise..we can win games the last weekend of the year..WHEN THEY ARE MEANINGLESS OF COURSE!!!Please find a way to get rid of maine, perez, schneider,castillo,pagan,pelfrey,wright or beltran and redding and minaya and manuel.We need new blood.oh, i forgot the jackie robinson rotunda also.that ends my wishful thinking for today.I know the wilpons will bring them all back.After all, if not for injuries, we would have won the world series this year.
  4. Mike October 5, 2009 at 9:30 am
    Joe you are getting my hopes up, how dare you! Riccardi and Towers in the FO with Bobby V as manager is pretty much a dream offseason for any Mets fan. It wouldn’t matter what players they brought in because the team would be in able hands. Within 2 years the Mets would be an OPS machine and the organization would be filled with promising talent (on top of what’s there already).
  5. Andy October 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm
    Did you see this?

    And the Wally Backman thing too? I think someone in the Mets offices must be reading your blog. Maybe you should stop giving free advice and demand some consulting fees before you post again . . .

  6. Andy October 8, 2009 at 10:23 pm
    Oh, sorry, somehow I missed the “update” line when I first posted.
  7. joejanish October 8, 2009 at 10:58 pm
    Crazy, right? We may not provide all of the up to the minute news here at MetsToday, but we’re usually a few steps ahead of the curve.

    Maybe the name should change to “MetsTomorrow” ?


    Thanks for the note.