Ricciardi draws response from Dunn
Jays GM's comments irk Reds' slugging outfielder
MILWAUKEE -- Over the years, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has shown a willingness to openly air his thoughts. The problem is that his honesty has led to some unintended trouble on more than one occasion.
Ricciardi's latest slip came on Wednesday night, during his weekly radio call-in show with Blue Jays fans on the FAN 590 AM in Toronto. A frustated Jays fan phoned in and asked if the team had considered trying to acquire slugger Adam Dunn from the Reds to boost Toronto's slumping offense.
Instead of simply saying that the Blue Jays didn't have interest in Dunn, Ricciardi publicly slammed Cincinnati's slugging left fielder.
"Let me ask you something. What do you know about Adam Dunn?" Riccardi told the caller. "He's a lifetime .230, .240 hitter that strikes out a ton and hits home runs. Do you know that the guy really doesn't like baseball all that much?
"Do you know the guy doesn't have a passion to play the game that much? How much do you know about the player? There's a reason why you're attracted to some players and there's a reason why you're not attracted to some players.
"I don't think you'd be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here."
Needless to say, the Jays' upcoming three-game Interleague series against the Reds, beginning on Tuesday in Toronto, just got a little more interesting. In Cincinnati, Dunn caught wind of Ricciardi's remarks and was understandably irked by the GM's comments.
"I know nothing about this clown. I have no idea who he is," Dunn told reporters. "I don't really care what one guy thinks, to be honest with you. If I'm a GM, I don't know if I would go out of my way to kind of discredit a player."
"It [ticks] me off to be honest with you," Dunn continued. "He doesn't even know me. If he knew me, fine, say what you want. This guy doesn't know anything about me other than what he sees on whatever SportsCenter they have up there. That's it."
With the series in Toronto looming, Dunn added that he didn't have any hard feelings toward the Blue Jays
"The players didn't say anything," Dunn said. "It was some clown sitting in the front office pushing paper."
It's not the first time that Ricciardi has created some controversy with comments that came during his weekly call-in show, which is dubbed "Wednesdays with J.P." In early May of last season, Ricciardi admitted on air that the Jays had intentionally fabricated a story about closer B.J. Ryan's left elbow injury.
|"If anything happens, I ain't going to Toronto."|
-- Reds outfielder|
"It was his elbow that was bothering him," Ricciardi said during that particular episode last season. "There's a lot of things we don't tell the media, because the media doesn't need to know it and the fans don't need to know it. They're not lies if we know the truth."
Ricciardi, who is scheduled to join the Jays in Pittsburgh this weekend, faced a lot of heat locally and nationally during that ordeal, and he has once again opened the door for more criticism.
That's not to say that Ricciardi hasn't been taking his knocks in the press already. Entering Thursday's game in Milwaukee, the Blue Jays resided in last place in the American League East. They trailed first-place Boston by 10 games, largely due to a struggling offense. That being the case, it seems understandable for a fan to wonder if the Jays would target a power hitter such as Dunn.
Entering Thursday, the Jays' 47 home runs as a team were tied for the second-fewest in the Majors. Dunn, 28, has hit 256 homers over the past eight seasons with the Reds, including at least 40 in each of the past four campaigns. This year, Dunn, who is a career .247 hitter, has hit .227 with 18 homers and 43 RBIs through 69 games for the Reds.
In light of Ricciardi's comments, Dunn said he could completely rule out a trade north of the border.
"If anything happens, I ain't going to Toronto," Dunn said. "I can eliminate one team. I'm not converting my dollars to loonies and toonies just yet."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.