It Was A Great Year Except For The Playing Baseball Part

I had assumed that Ken Griffey jr would retire after hitting .214 this season, to preserve some dignity, but apparently he not only wants to return in 2010, but has convinced the Mariners he’s enough of an asset to give him a contract comparable to his 2009 salary of over $3 million Why?

Griffey returned to the Mariners in 2009 under rookie manager Don Wakamatsu and almost single-handedly transformed what had been a fractured, bickering clubhouse with his leadership, energy and constant pranks….
“He went beyond anything that I would have expected,” Zduriencik said.
Griffey even turned formerly reclusive star Ichiro Suzuki into a smiling, joking teammate. He had neckties made for road trips bearing Wakamatsu’s likeness. He also had the Mariners wearing ties bearing his own likeness and the words “World’s Greatest Teammate” for one midseason flight out of Seattle.
“His influence, the presence he has — there are players on this ballclub who are very excited to know they are going to be teammates again with Ken Griffey Jr.,” Zduriencik said.
The Mariners even carried Griffey off the field on their shoulders immediately following October’s season finale.

That’s all to the good, and by and large Griffey’s been one of the good guys in his career; yes, he’s been prone to whining and self-centeredness at times, especially in mid-career, but some of that comes with being told from your teen years that you are going to be a superstar, and it being right. On the whole, he’s a guy I’ve always liked and rooted for, and it’s good to see he’s grown into a real clubhouse leader in his later years.
But it might help the Mariners to replace Griffey with someone who can provide a little more than a nice personality.

12 thoughts on “It Was A Great Year Except For The Playing Baseball Part”

  1. I think it’s pretty absurd to attribute the clubhouse turnaround to Griffey in year where the Mariners also got a new Manager, GM and several other veteran free agents. All of the coverage I’ve read/heard up here today has seemed to be stretching to justify this signing.

  2. I like Ken Griffey, I don’t begrudge him wanting to extend the string if he can.
    And I don’t cry foul if his team feels the need to go elsewhere. It’s baseball, wins and losses.

  3. Another example of the Mariners not really paying and playing to win. Griffey is pretty much toast as a hitter goes, he can’t really play the field without dislocating something and he serves as a hood ornament for Mariner attendance. If the Yankees or Red Sox did this their fan base would kill them. In Seattle they love it. We’re soft on sports out here in the West.

  4. Clubhouse influence notwithstanding, Griffey played just barely well enough to not embaress himself this year. 2010 has serious 1973 Willie Mays potential.

  5. Well, Willie Mays did bat .286 in the ’73 Series — that would be a good outcome for Griffey and the Ms in ’10.

  6. It would be nice if somehow he was able to finish on a high note. Hey Crank do you know if anyone has ver done an analysis of what his numbers projected out to without injuries?

  7. I’d never pay him that much but I think he had a better year than the numbers indicate at first glance. He had a .359 secondary average, saw four pitches per appearance, walked 63 times, hit 19 homers and 19 doubles in 2/3rds of a season. Safeco killed his home numbers and his BAPiP was horrific. Which all means he might still have another solid year in him. But I imagine Safeco will hurt his numbers again (so Seattle really shouldn’t have paid him 3 million) even if his BAPiP comes back to a normal level. (And of course he can’t play defense.)

  8. I remember back in the Stone Age, before free agency, there were players that demanded more money because they drew larger crowds. Probably a stretch to suggest this, but is Griffey still an attendance draw?

  9. The money is really academic, for both Griffey and the team (in particular, he is probably worth that to the Ms as an ambassador for the team). It comes down to whether he’s worth a roster spot, and whether he can live with being the kind of player he’s going to be.

  10. Yeah, I can’t read. And it’s hard for me to figure out why his road splits were so bad. Safeco isn’t exactly a hitter’s park is it? The team hitting splits are about even but the pitchers fared better at home. So, maybe if his road splits improve, he’ll have a better year next year.

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