June 04, 2006
Ken Griffey Jr.
From Jon Heyman's column today:
Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell are available, Alfonso Soriano can be had and Reggie Sanders probably can be, too. But the Yankees also have their eye on Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, should either become available.
Gary Sheffield's potentially season-ending wrist injury sent general manager Brian Cashman to the phones looking for a corner outfielder late this past week. Big names will be tossed around, but with the Yankees' prospect stash limited, the best option could actually become Griffey.
Griffey's whopping salary ($37 million through 2009) means the Yankees wouldn't have to give up anything of note to get him. The Reds' previous ownership rejected the Yankees' bid for Griffey last year, but the Reds have a new owner, Bob Castellini, and a new GM, Wayne Krivsky, who isn't afraid to deal if they fall out of the race.
Where do I start?
Griffey is 36-years-old. In the last six years, he's qualified for the batting title just twice. Just recently, he's moaned about the media coverage in a small market like Cincy:
"Sometimes you have bad days. You have bad days, I have bad days and you just don't want to talk," he said.
"What you guys say and write doesn't just stay in this clubhouse. I have to live it, I have to go places, normal places like the grocery store and hear it (repeated). I can't do anything but hold my head up high and keep moving. You don't have to have your kids listen to other kids repeat it."
So, in summary, we have a brittle, aging, former (and spoiled) star who does not like negative media coverage.
Oh, yeah, that's just what the Yankees need.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at June 4, 2006 08:51 AM
SG - I agree with you that the Yanks ought not sign Griffey, although I would have been happy if he had been signed instead of Damon. However, your description of Griffey may have understated his value. Yes, he's brittle, aging, and spoiled. But, he's a bit more than a "former star". ISTM he's more fairly described as a former best player in baseball.
Griffey Jr. was never the "best" player in baseball. He was superb, but throughout the 90's, Barry Bonds always outperformed him.
"So, in summary, we have a brittle, aging, former (and spoiled) star who does not like negative media coverage."
But Steve, you're forgetting that he's a star and his dad played for the Yankees. That gets the check plus from Steinbrenner. And he's a veteran, that gets the check plus from Torre.
Actually, I could see Junior in pinstripes if it were only an "until the end of the year" rental. Damon's in center, Matsui will be in left, Shef will DH and Melky will be in right -- I hope. And if the alternative is Terrence Long.
No thank you.
I sincerely hope Brian Cashman stays away from this. I don't see what Griffey would do for the Yankees besides give the team its 1998 Seattle Mariners reunion.
All of those guys listed above would most likely cost the Yanks at least one of their primo prospects. I'd rather have a Thompson/Crosby platoon in right for the time being, which, with Damon and Melky would give them a very solid defensive outfield.
More importantly: Torre needs to STOP playing Long IMMEDIATELY, his vetereness notwithstanding. I honestly don't know when Torre's going to learn his lessons with respect to has-beens like Long and Erickson. They are the baseball version of the tapeworm, gradually, sucking the life out of each game in which they appear.
If it means not seeing Long, I'll take Griffey in a heartbeat.
I take issue with the "spoiled" label. Griffey was able to accomplish what Munson (among others) wanted; to play closer to home with his family. He's not "The Kid" anymore, he's a grown man, an 18 year veteran of the league.
And I have yet to see a star that enjoys negative media coverage.
"Junior Griffey is well-known here for his charitable work. He has received numerous awards, including the 1994 Celebrity Recognition Award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Mariners' Roberto Clemente Award for outstanding community service in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Junior has also sponsored Christmas dinners for 350 youngsters from Rainier Vista annually since 1994.
“He's been a great role model,” said Mr. Burton, who noted that Mr. Griffey is also on the board of governors for the Boys & Girls Club of America. Mr. Burton said Junior has exerted a tremendous influence on children through that organization.
To encourage kids to stay in school and improve their grades, he said, Mr. Griffey personally checks their report cards and rewards top performers with trips. Not just day trips. He takes them to Disney World. Epcot Center. All-star baseball camps."
What a spoiled brat...