B.J. Ryan Signs Contract; Is J.P. Next?

TORONTO- The critics are out in full force. There is an upheaval around the circles of major league baseball executives that the Blue Jays actually made B.J. Ryan the highest paid reliever in the history of the game. Ryan signed a five-year, $47 million contract on Monday and

Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Godfrey backed up his general manager during his opening statement Monday afternoon noting how Ricciardi has done an outstanding job in the organization, and that he has his full trust.

"J.P. could have spent money in 2005 but he wisely waited to spend money on the player he wanted, and not salary dumps" said Godfrey. "He has shown patience during his tenure, allowing our kids to grow both at the major league level and the minor leagues."

"We are spending money wisely and I have total faith in the decision made by J.P. Ricciardi."

Godfrey also noted how he will be looking forward to the ninth inning of games, while the Jays opponents will not.

"I am very grateful for this opportunity that the Blue Jays have given me" said Ryan. "I searched for three things when this process began. The first was for a quality environment for my family, the second was a competitive team, and the third was a good contract. I found all three right in this franchise."

"These are the best people I have come across in all of baseball."

This was a move the club had to make to put themselves on the map. They face great competition not only on the field, but off the field in their division, and the Jays will not win without spending money. Make no mistake, the Blue Jays are not nearly done. The club is still looking at A.J. Burnett and Brian Giles, as well as keeping their ears on the trading front.

"The Blue Jays future is yet to come" said Ted Rogers, the team owner.

Highest Paid Closer

General Manager J.P. Ricciardi joked that B.J. Ryan would not stay the highest paid closer for long.

"Billy Wagner has not signed yet" said Ricciardi cracking a smile.

However, FOXSports.com reported just hours after the Ryan press conference that Wagner has indeed signed. The left-handed closer has reached a deal in principle with the Mets that would pay him $43 million over four-years, with a fifth option year worth ten million. There is a three million dollar buyout included in the total figure.

Extension for J.P.?

Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricciardi just finished outlining a contract with left-handed closer B.J. Ryan, but at the same time his own contract situation is being discussed.

In a press conference that was scheduled to announce the signing of Ryan to a five-year contract worth $47 million, Ricciardi told the media he is discussing extending his stay with the organization.

"We're talking about it" said Ricciardi. "I like where we're going."

Ricciardi noted how the club started many things under his tenure and he would like to help the organization put the finishing pieces in place.

"We've put in four hard years, and have cultivated the farm system. I like the direction the team is headed."

Ricciardi originally signed a three-year contract in 2002, which included an ‘out' clause if another General Managers position which he liked opened up. When the General Manager's position of the Boston Red Sox opened up during the winter of 2002, the organization feared Ricciardi, whose family resides in Worcester, Massachusetts, would leave for the Sox position. At that point the Blue Jays ripped up his contract and Ricciardi signed a five-year extension on October 2, 2002, which did not include an out clause.

"I have a few years left in me, and I think we've got some unfinished business here."

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