Ken Griffey Jr. Rumors
Some news items to wrap up the evening....
- In regards to the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista pushing back their arbitration hearing, a source tells FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link) that when hearings are delayed, it "frequently" means a long-term deal is on the way.
- Reds pitching coach Bryan Price confirms that Aroldis Chapman will pitch relief for Cincinnati this season, reports Fanhouse's John Hickey. The Reds' rotation is deep enough that they "don't have to push Chapman," Price said. "We don't need to stockpile innings on him at this stage of his career...But down the road will he start? I think he will."
- The Mariners announced that Ken Griffey Jr. will be a special consultant for the club, according to the team's Twitter feed. MLB.com's Greg Johns outlines some of the tasks Griffey will perform in his new position.
- Chris Ray tells Greg Johns that he turned down a Major League offer from another club to sign a minor league deal with the Mariners since Ray will get a chance to close or at least set up games in Seattle. "It doesn't really mean a whole lot if it's a one-year contract [elsewhere] and I'm a free agent again next year if I'm pitching basically the scrap innings," Johns said. "That's not something that will help me out in the future. From this point forward, I want to be the guy who goes in late in the ballgame."
- Jeffrey Loria thinks the Marlins are a playoff-caliber team, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Loria also hinted that Florida's payroll will rise next year when the Fish move into their new Miami stadium.
- Jorge Posada said "it wouldn't surprise" him if Andy Pettitte pitched again, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a few hot stove notes in his latest column, but before he gets to those, he discusses Ken Griffey Jr.'s career, noting that the Mariner "walked away very quietly, with little fanfare, just as he said he would." Here are the rest of the highlights from Cafardo's piece:
- It doesn't appear any teams, besides maybe the Rangers, are too interested in Mike Lowell. Cafardo lists the Angels, Mariners and White Sox as potential matches, though a Sox official says Lowell "doesn’t fit for us right now."
- The Angels, meanwhile, seem committed to giving Mike Napoli playing time at first base for now, diminishing any interest they'd have in Lowell.
- The Diamondbacks have had internal discussions about trading Dan Haren, but one baseball executive expressed doubt that Arizona will pull the trigger. The exec pointed out that rebuilding from scratch isn't necessary in the NL West, since almost every team could be just a couple moves away from contending.
- Kurt Suzuki will likely be the Red Sox' top trade target this winter.
- A scout offers his opinion on the Orioles' young arms like Chris Tillman: "They’re kind of stuck and maybe have even taken a step backward. But sometimes that happens. Every kid has a hump they have to get over once they hit the big leagues." Last night, we discussed the possibility of the O's having a fire sale and turning their roster over to their youngsters for the remainder of the season.
On this date last season, Randy Johnson threw six innings of one run ball to beat the Nationals and earn his 300th career victory. The Big Unit called it career in January with 303 career wins despite having just 64 on his 30th birthday. His 4,875 strikeouts are the second most all time, though his 10.61 career K/9 is the best mark in history.
The four year, $53.4MM deal the Diamondbacks gave Johnson prior to the 1999 season might be the greatest free agent signing of all time. All he gave them in return was 1030 innings, 81 wins, 1,417 strikeouts, four Cy Young Awards and a World Championship. I'd call that one a win.
Here are a few links from around the world wide netweb...
- The Bottom Line wonders if Ken Griffey Jr.'s retirement opens the door for a Mike Lowell to Seattle trade.
- The Friarhood says it's time for the Padres to get serious about adding a middle-of-the-order bat.
- MLB Depth Charts checks in on prospects who were traded this past offseason.
- Bucs Prospects offers up a first hand scouting report on Florida Gulf Coast lefty Chris Sale, who's expected to be a high pick in next week's draft.
- Examiner wonders if the White Sox should trade Mark Buehrle.
- Meanwhile, Midwest Sports Fan suggests the ChiSox could be in for a turn around this month.
- More Hardball offer up a one-third mark of the season All-Star Team.
- Feeling Dodger Blue wonders if John Ely is the National League's second best rookie.
Links for Thursday, as Armando Galarraga receives a new Corvette (but no perfect game)...
- Reliever Chad Cordero has been called up to the Mariners roster, according to a team news release. Cordero hasn't pitched in the majors since undergoing labrum surgery in July 2008. He signed a minor league deal with Seattle last winter and has a 4.12 ERA and 5.50 K-BB ratio in 17 appearances for Triple-A Tacoma this season. In six seasons with the Expos/Nationals organization, Cordero posted a 2.78 ERA and racked up 128 saves, including a league-best 47 in 2005.
- 2009 first rounder Jared Mitchell told reporters that he is recovering well from his ankle injury. The White Sox prospect, who will represent the team at this year's draft, does underwater drills and is progressing towards baseball activities.
- Daniel Murphy will miss four to six months with an MCL tear, so the Mets have reduced infield depth, according to Newsday's David Lennon (via Twitter). Murphy, who has not played in the majors this year, has missed significant time because of his right knee.
- MLB.com's Ian Browne wonders if the Red Sox will have to trade Boof Bonser.
- The A's claimed Triple A infielder Adam Heether off of waivers from the Brewers, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). Heether, 28, was hitting .245/.343/.440 in Nashville.
- J.D. Drew and Jason Varitek told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that agent Scott Boras does not pressure them to return from injuries any earlier or later than they want to. Boras says he does not draw medical conclusions for any of his clients, including Jacoby Ellsbury.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Ken Griffey Jr. felt pressure from Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to retire. Wakamatsu says it was "Ken's decision."
- Stephen Strasburg, who debuts against the Pirates next week, pitched five shutout innings at Triple A and even got a hit, writes MASN.com's Ben Goessling.
- Strasburg's a star now, but college coach Tony Gwynn says the phenom was "sweating like a hostage" before his San Diego State debut, according to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse. The entire piece is worth reading.
- Tom Singer and Doug Miller of MLB.com note that Griffey and the 1995 Mariners may have "saved baseball in the Emerald City and basically built Safeco Field."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says fans will remember Griffey for being clean. Junior was never linked to performance enhancing drugs.
- Scott Miller of CBS Sports says Griffey had two lives in Seattle: the "very first baseball all-timer Seattle could call its own" and the elder statesman.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports points out that Griffey retired 75 years to the day after Babe Ruth did.
- Tim Lincecum tells Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle that Junior was "the epitome of Seattle baseball."
- Jay Bruce grew up idolizing Griffey and eventually became his teammate, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown says Griffey "had no peers" on the baseball diamond.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says "maybe [Griffey] wasn't as good as he could have been. But he was better than almost everyone else."
- Speaking of Griffey, Bob Nightengale of USA Today says (via Twitter) that he will remain with the Mariners in a front office role.
- Big League Stew lists ten players who could be traded before the deadline, headlined by Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee.
- Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse grades the Padres' offseason pickups.
- The Red Sox almost drafted Kurt Suzuki instead of Dustin Pedroia in the second round of the 2004 draft, according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
- D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes did not deny that Dan Haren may be dealt this summer, according to Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick presents the nine most-hyped draft picks of all time.
- Ben Goessling of MASN.com imagines what a Roy Oswalt-Nationals swap might look like, just as MLBTR's Howard Megdal did. Last night we heard that Oswalt would consider a deal to Washington.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports that Randy Wells switched agents "a while ago," leaving the Beverly Hills Sports Council for ACES (Twitter link).
- Lynn Henning of the Detroit News believes Oswalt and Cliff Lee would cost more than the Tigers can afford to give up.
- Scott Boras told Scott Miller of CBS Sports that Tony Gwynn was an "extraordinary" coach for Stephen Strasburg at San Diego State University.
- Boras doesn't want Bryce Harper to catch, but ESPN.com's Keith Law points out that Harper's bat is worth much more behind the plate than anywhere else.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle predicts that Pat Burrell may make his Giants debut as soon as this weekend.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan describes the journey Colby Lewis took from the majors to Japan and back.
- The Rangers need a reliable catcher more than anything else, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Indians had no interest in Dontrelle Willis, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- But other teams are eyeing an Indians starter. One executive told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Jake Westbrook is "everything you look for if you want to add an arm down the stretch."
Ken Griffey Jr. has announced his retirement effective immediately, reports John Hickey of AOL FanHouse. He did not report to Safeco Field for the Mariners' game against the Twins tonight, saying "it's over." Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times provides a transcript of Griffey's statement.
Griffey has been in the news quite a bit this season, but not for the reasons the team hoped. There was talk that the Mariners could release him last month following an incident in which he slept through a pinch hitting appearance, and overall he hit just .184/.250/.204 on the year.
Regardless of what happened in 2010, Griffey was one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He retired as a .284/.370/.538 career hitter with 630 homers, good the fifth most all time. During his prime years from 1993-1998, Griffey hit .300/.388/.620 and played a Gold Glove caliber center field, which is the definition of a superstar.
After spending the first 11 seasons of his career in Seattle, Griffey was traded to the Reds for a four player package headlined by Mike Cameron. He signed a nine year, $116.5MM contract shortly thereafter, though his time in Cincinnati was plagued by injury. After a short stint with the White Sox, Griffey returned to the Mariners last season.
Junior earned more than $151MM during his career according to Baseball-Reference.com. The next stop for him is Cooperstown.
Ah, 1990. Times were very different then. Ken Griffey Jr. played for the Seattle Mariners. The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live were on the air. And Congress passed a bill in response to an unprecedented oil spill.
But even if that all seems familiar, the trade deadline of 1990 certainly won't. The action came later in the season, with most of the biggest trades actually taking place in August. Let's meet at the corner of Transaction Avenue and Memory Lane...
- The Boston Red Sox, keen on acquiring a first baseman, grabbed Mike Marshall from the Mets on July 27 for three minor leaguers, headlined by Greg Hansell. Marshall was actually pretty effective for Boston, with a .464 slugging percentage in 117 plate appearances, though he was near the end of his career.
- An August 3 deal between the Braves and Phillies had hidden implications. The immediate deal? Dale Murphy for Jeff Parrett. Both teams also included players to be named later. Atlanta got Jim Vatcher and Victor Rosario. Philadelphia got Tommy Greene, who posted a 3.66 ERA from 1991-93 and and pitched a no-hitter in 1991.
- In a Doyle Alexander-for-John Smoltz-like trade, the Pirates acquired Zane Smith from the Expos for Willie Greene, Scott Ruskin and a player to be named later. At first, the deal seemed one-sided, as Smith went 6-2 with a 1.30 ERA for Pittsburgh as the Pirates won the NL East. However, the PTBNL turned out to be... Moises Alou.
- The Athletics, en route to a World Series appearance, made a pair of interesting moves just before postseason rosters could be set. On August 29, they acquired Harold Baines from the Texas Rangers for Joe Bitker and Scott Chiamparino. The same day, they traded top prospect Felix Jose, Stan Royer and Daryl Green to the Cardinals for Willie McGee. The move froze McGee's National League batting average at .335- he'd go on to win the batting title in absentia. Good thing, too- his .274 mark with Oakland brought his season line down to .324, meaning under today's rules, which combine NL and AL totals, he'd have finished behind Eddie Murray (.330), Dave Magadan (.328) and Lenny Dykstra (.325).
- And the Houston Astros, on August 31, made a blockbuster move, trading longtime second baseman Bill Doran to the eventual World Champion Cincinnati Reds for Terry McGriff, Keith Kaiser and Butch Henry. Oh, and also, they made a throwaway trade, dealing reliever Larry Andersen to the Boston Red Sox for so-so prospect Jeff Bagwell.
With FOX airing Saturday evening games this weekend rather than afternoon games, Ken Rosenthal's new Full Count video showed up on their website a little later in the day too. Now that it's been posted, let's recap Rosenthal's latest hot stove tidbits....
- Roy Oswalt is making $15MM this year and $16MM next year, which will make it difficult to trade him. Making it even trickier, owner Drayton McLane won't want to include money in a deal, even if it means getting better prospects in return.
- If the Mariners become sellers, that would further diminish the chances of an Oswalt deal, since the M's could make Cliff Lee available. Lee is the much more affordable ace, earning only $9MM this season.
- The Red Sox don't want to release Mike Lowell, since he provides injury protection at both corner infield spots, and can DH against left-handers. Additionally, if the Sox were to release Lowell, many of their AL rivals, such as the Angels, Rays, and Twins, could have interest in him.
- Ken Griffey's current role of pinch-hitter, occasional DH, and clubhouse mentor is exactly what the Mariners were hoping for when they re-signed the 40-year-old this winter. For now, the club has no desire for Griffey to retire.
- Carlos Zambrano appears to be headed back to the Cubs' rotation, even though he may currently be their sixth-best starter. The team could attempt to trade Tom Gorzelanny or move him to the bullpen, but Rosenthal opines that it would make their pitching staff weaker.
As we prepare for a weekend of watching AL pitchers take ineffective swings, here are a few news items...
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks the Orioles should take advantage of their terrible start by being the first team to put its assets on the trade market.
- Texas relief prospect Tanner Scheppers could be in the majors by the All-Star Break or even sooner, predicts John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com.
- ESPN.com's Jason A. Churchill looks at what the Pirates might do with the second overall pick in next month's amateur draft.
- The Blue Jays want "a top prospect" for either Scott Downs or Jason Frasor, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, and other teams consider that to be too high a price for either reliever.
- Olney also notes (via Twitter) that Seattle is still looking for batting help.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America discusses several prospects in a chat with fans. In regards to Indians prospect Lonnie Chisenhall, Eddy predicts that Cleveland will buy out Jhonny Peralta (for $250K) rather than pick up his $7MM club option in 2011, and then have Chisenhall take over as the everyday third baseman. Chisenhall has just a .641 OPS at Double-A Akron this season, so it might be too much to expect him to move up to the majors that quickly.
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times compares the situations of fading future Hall-of-Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman.
- ESPN's Rob Neyer thinks Colorado can do better than Luis Castillo or Kazuo Matsui if the club is serious about improving itself at second base.
- Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota's first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2004 amateur draft, will make his major league debut tonight for the Twins, reports Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.