Griffey's New Position: Designated Jersey Sales Catalyst

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francisfarmer.jpgKen Griffey returning to Seattle provided a lot of column inches and a lot of sold merchandise for the good people of the Emerald City. He got his ovations, the players got their clubhouse go-between, the front office got their old poster boy back. Everyone wins!

Unfortunately, signing a free agent and placing him on the active roster isn't quite like the serving as ceremonial starter of the Masters: you expect the man to make a contribution. Sadly, Griffey has not made any sort of contribution to the Mariners hot start. Ken Griffey Junior's current line is pretty rough: .190/.338/.317. An OPS of .655, or about what the Mariners got from designated hitter-come-punchline Jose Vidro in 2008. Offensively, he's at or below replacement level, something I'm not comfortable saying about the sweetest swing I've ever seen. Griffy's 2 home runs on the season tell part of the story, his swing information does the rest. Less contact, fewer line drives, more ground balls, more infield pop ups (juuusst missed it), and most telling of all, more fastballs faced. Opposing pitchers just don't believe he can get around on the hard stuff because Griffey doesn't give them any reason to believe it.

It's hard to watch one of the greatest players of his generation serve as little more than a mascot. In addition to being part of a strict platoon (Griffey doesn't start against right handed pitching), he's part of a DH platoon at that. The former web-gem-in-waiting spent a grand total of 23 innings in the field thus far. Exactly zero since Ichiro's return from the DL. New manager Don Wakamatsu is dedicated to defense, obviously at Griffey's expense.

I don't think it's all bad for Ken Griffey. If this is his victory lap around the league, he couldn't have picked a better team to do it with. The Mariners have a real shot in the wide-open west, if Griffey can inject some good tidings to both sides of the clubhouse with the (very) occasional long ball than I'm all for it. In the end, I hope this provides one of the best ever with a suitable coda to an incredible career, without trampling too much on his ultimate legacy.

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Don't forget that the M's have actually been pimping Junior as an All Star candidate. His performance this year is surprising only to those who ignored the reams of information that pointed to a below-replacement slash line for 2009.

I feel like a moron for getting upset when the Braves didn't land him.

I'd still pay to see him play.

Golf. I'd pay to see him play golf with Tiger Woods and Barack Obama. Baseball? Gimme some of dat sweet Wladimir Balentien action in the outfield, Wokka Matsu.

Look, we can all agree Jr. took steroids, right? Let's just ban him for 50 games and move on.

/A's fan

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