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Mets, J.P. Ricciardi mutually part ways

Then-Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi watches during

Then-Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi watches during a spring training practice at the Cecil P. Englebert Complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Feb. 20, 2007. Photo Credit: WIREIMAGE/A. Messerschmidt

Brodie Van Wagenen’s reshaping of the Mets continued Friday when the team announced that J.P. Ricciardi, a special assistant to the general manager the past eight years, and the club “mutually agreed to part ways.”

Ricciardi’s departure is the first significant change to the front office since Van Wagenen became general manager last week. It came one day after Van Wagenen, Ricciardi and others wrapped up business at the general managers’ meetings in Carlsbad, California.

All week, Van Wagenen declined to elaborate on the futures of Ricciardi and assistant GM John Ricco, saying only that they were in “important roles right now” but not committing to any sort of long-term plan for two of former GM Sandy Alderson’s top lieutenants.

Ricco’s future with the club is unclear.

Alderson added Ricciardi, his underling in the 1990s when Alderson was the Oakland GM, to his Mets front office in November 2010. Ricciardi remained throughout Alderson’s tenure, and when Alderson stepped away in June because of cancer, Ricciardi was part of a three-man committee — along with Ricco and special assistant to the GM Omar Minaya — that served as interim general manager.

“I want to express my gratitude to Fred and Jeff [Wilpon] for giving me the opportunity to spend the last eight years in New York,” Ricciardi, the Blue Jays’ GM from 2001-09, said in a statement released by the Mets. “Additionally, I want to thank Sandy for originally bringing me to New York and serving as a great mentor and an even better friend. Helping the Wilpon family towards their goal of making the Mets a successful franchise year in and year out was an honor. I’m looking forward to my next chapter and will continue to wish Brodie and the rest of the organization success.”

For the Mets, this means one fewer cook in their busy front-office kitchen.

In addition to Minaya and perhaps Ricco staying, Van Wagenen moved Ruben Amaro Jr. — a former Phillies general manager — from first-base coach to an undefined front-office advisory role.

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said in a statement that the Mets are grateful for Ricciardi’s work with the team.

“He was and will continue to be a friend,” Wilpon said. “J.P. was instrumental in identifying and bringing talent to the Mets that helped develop our growth throughout the entire system and stepped up to play an even larger role when we needed him over the time Sandy had to step away.”

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