Friday, July 17, 2009

What Could Have Been: Ken Griffey Jr to the Braves

For a short period of time back in February, it looked like Ken Griffey Jr. was on his way to playing with the Atlanta Braves.

As David O'Brien wrote:
Ken Griffey Jr., one of only six players to hit more than 600 career home runs, has decided to play for the Braves, a person close to the veteran outfielder and familiar with the negotiations told the Journal-Constitution.
The Braves were obviously looking for Junior to be a productive outfielder, who could put some fannies in the seats at Turner Field. Even though Griffey is well past his prime, the Braves figured that Junior would be somewhat productive and on top of that, he would bring in enough revenue to justify the signing.

However, as we all know now, Junior did not sign with the Braves. Instead, he went back to his old stomping grounds and signed with the Seattle Mariners. Everyone in Seattle rejoiced while Braves fans were left stranded at the alter without Junior.

But as we look at the signing now, it appears as though the Braves were lucky that they did not sign Junior. In 234 at bats with the Mariners, Junior is only hitting .218 with 10 HR and a measly .337 OBP.

Despite Junior's poor performance, the Mariners have admirably stayed in contention in the AL West this season. However, a possible dilemma could be on the horizon for Junior and the Mariners. If the Mariners continue to stay in contention and Junior continues to struggle at the plate, the Mariners will have no choice but to either bench the living legend or at least move him down further in the batting order. The Mariners don't have many options in the middle of the order, but they need to find production for somewhere.

As for the Braves, their outfield production has been a source of concern all season. If the team had signed Griffey, their outfield production would have been even worse and Bobby Cox would have been put in a difficult situation with regards to Griffey and playing time. While Garret Anderson, the Braves current left fielder, is far from his prime, he is still an upgrade over the aging Ken Griffey Jr.

5 comments:

lar said...

Well, it certainly wouldn't be the first time that a HOFer eked out the last few weeks of his career on the bench. In fact, maybe we could call Griffey a throwback for doing it this year!

jorgesaysno said...

Iar,

Great point. It's kinda sad to see him go out like this though.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

You obviously haven't watched Garret Anderson all that much this season. His offense (100 to 93 OPS+) is a modest upgrade if he starts to hit with some pop, but his defense (-5.1 UZR, but I can't imagine how it's that good) can't be any worse than Griffey's.

jorgesaysno said...

I have actually seen quite a bit of Anderson this season and even though he struggles in the OBP department, I would take him in a heartbeat over Girffey in my lineup.

Griffey has been terrible this season, especially in big spots. He is hitting .152 with runners in scoring position, which is completely unacceptable when you remember that Griff has hit 3rd or 4th for the Mariners most of this season.

In addition, Griffey's UZR last season was -18.0, which is absolutely horrible even when compared to Garret Anderson. There is a reason why Griff has been reduced to nothing more than a DH this season

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I've just seen too many balls that he didn't get to. But his bat has been somewhat coming around lately. Though I maintain that things probably wouldn't be much different if Griffey was in a Braves uniform.