If J.P. Ricciardi is not alone in his assessment, Adam Dunn might be in for a rude surprise in free agency this fall. Dunn has hit 40 home runs four years running, the only major leaguer to do so.
Ricciardi, the Blue Jays' general manager, has a Wednesday night radio show on Toronto's the Fan 590. The power-starved Jays are in last place in the AL East, and a caller asked Ricciardi on Wednesday why he had said he would not be interested in trading for Dunn. Keep in mind that the Dodgers' Ned Colletti and the Angels' Tony Reagins hear the same suggestion all the time, and not unjustifiably.
Instead of treading lightly, as most general managers do when asked about a player on another club, Ricciardi challenged the caller.
Live on Line 1: an honest scouting report
Ricciardi: "What do you know about Adam Dunn?"
Caller: "He's a great hitter. He's a power hitter. He's a ..."
Ricciardi, cutting him off: "He's a lifetime .230-.240 hitter that strikes out a ton and hits home runs."
Caller: "Yes, he hits home runs, which none of the Toronto Blue Jays are doing."
Ricciardi: "Do you know the guy doesn't really like baseball that much? Do you know the guy doesn't have a passion to play the game that much? . . . I don't think you'd be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here. I think you'd be one of the guys calling me on Wednesday night complaining about all the deficiencies the guy has. We've done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn, and there's a reason why we don't want Adam Dunn."
Hey, Canada boy, who ya callin' deficient?
Dunn did not respond by citing the pressure on Ricciardi, who is under fire in his eighth season in Toronto, with no playoff appearances. Perhaps the Jays can't hang with the Red Sox and Yankees, but they ought not to be looking up at the Rays in the standings.
Dunn did liken Ricciardi to Bozo.
"I don't know the clown," Dunn told reporters in Cincinnati.
He added: "He's not even in our country. . . . This guy doesn't know anything about me other than what he sees on whatever 'SportsCenter' they have on up there."
Bullpen meltdown of the month
The Cubs' Carlos Marmol pitched to four batters last Thursday, gave up no hits and gave up four runs. How? Walk, walk, hit batter, hit batter.
Scott Eyre relieved Marmol and nearly gave up a cycle without getting an out. Eyre gave up a grand slam to Carl Crawford, a triple, two doubles and a sacrifice fly. More bad news for the NL: The Rays swept the Cubs, the team with the best record in the NL.
If the season ended today, the Rays would make the playoffs, against the Angels.
Three down; who's next?
Willie Randolph, John McLaren and John Gibbons were fired last week, and Ned Yost could be next.
The Brewers, like the Mets, are trying to recover from a season in which they led their division all summer before blowing a playoff spot in September. This is Yost's sixth season, with no playoff appearances.
Let's see 'em play in flip-flops
The most colorful uniform worn in baseball this season? We'll take the "tropical paradise" jerseys worn today by the Kane County (Ill.) Cougars, mock Hawaiian shirts with large white flowers on a background described by spokesman Shawn Touney as "aquamarine."
It's part of the Cougars' Jimmy Buffett Day celebration. Alas, Touney said there would be no margaritas, either for sale in the stands or sneaked into the Gatorade cooler in the visiting dugout.
-- Bill Shaikin