"He's coming home. ... I can't begin to tell you how ecstatic we are. He is, too," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik confirmed on Wednesday night, calling Griffey "arguably one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the Seattle area."ESPN.comAnd you know what, they should be elated. Griffey is back! Break out the #24 Griffey Jerseys!
Sure, no one has any idea what Junior will be able to give the Mariners this season, but the fans needed something to be excited about in 2009, especially after last season's debacle. Griffey brings an instant buzz to the Mariners, which the team needed in the worst way.
This team is still not expected to compete. Everyone knows that. But Junior will put the fannies in the seats for the Mariners and sell tons of merchandise, which is more than any player outside of Ichiro could say.
However, I do have one problem with this move. Junior's arrival in Seattle likely means that Wladimir Balentien, the Mariners top prospect for years, will be relegated to the bench or AAA. The Mariners have talked about giving Balentien a shot for years, but it looks like that opportunity will have to wait.
True, Balentien did get 243 at bats with the Mariners last season. And you know what, he was pretty unimpressive during that time (.202 BA, 7 HR). But 243 ABs is a rather small sample size for a highly touted youngster, don't ya think?
And you know what, that's a shame. This Mariners team should be trying to get YOUNGER and experiment with their highly touted young players to see what they got. This season would have been the perfect time to give Balentien a shot to perform everyday to see if he really does have a future with the team. This guy has performed very well at every stop in the minors and deserved a chance to play everyday. It's clear to me that the Mariners have little faith in Balentien and probably will never give him a chance to play everyday.
Wladimir Balentien=Felix Pie
Mariners fans: do you think Griffey and Balentien will platoon in left field? I hope so.