Thursday, July 31, 2008

Junior Flying Under The Radar

It seems that a deal has been approved that would bring Ken Griffey Jr. to the White Sox. I've learned that when Kenny Williams says there is nothing going on, there's something big cooking.

Ken Griffey Jr. signed off on this deal. The Sox have been trying to get him for years. I can remember a few half-hearted stabs when he was with the Mariners, but it really started to heat up in 2005.

My sources tell me that Danny Richar and Nick Masset are being shipped out to Cincinnati for Griffey and that the deal has been approved by both teams.

My concern, and you know there had to be one, is where exactly is Junior going to play? The outfield seems set. Quentin is going nowhere. Neither is Dye. That leaves Swisher in center field. The Sox could move Swish to first base and platoon Thome and Konerko as the DH. Or platoon Griffey and Thome at DH. Or (gulp) play Thome at first and put Griffey in the DH spot. It kind of boggles the mind.

Through 102 games this year, Griffey is hitting .245 with 15 home runs. Not exactly setting the world on fire numbers, but leaps above Konerko. I would expect another trade soon. There is a logjam of major league talent now, so my guess is that Konerko or Thome will get moved.

The Sox have played in the past with a logjam at positions, but it's not likely to stay this way for too long. Ozzie has expressed that he wants to keep as many pitchers on the roster as possible, so there is essentially no room for an extra bat.

Then again, Brain Anderson could be expendable with Griffey in Chicago. I would think that Anderson would stay within the organization, with Junior's contract status up in the air after 2008.

Orlando Cabrera - SS
A.J. Pierzynski - C
Carlos Quentin - LF
Jermaine Dye - RF
Jim Thome - DH
Ken Griffey Jr. - CF
Nick Swisher - 1B
Alexei Ramirez - 2B
Juan Uribe - 3B

If Griffey were inserted into the lineup today, with Crede still on the DL, I could see this lineup being realistic. With Crede back in the lineup, move the 3B spot up to seventh or eighth place. Depending on how solid Griffey is hitting-wise, I could see him and Thome switching places.

If the Sox don't move another position player, or hitter, I could see Konerko developing into a pinch hitting specialist for the remainder of the season. That's probably not going to happen. The Sox are looking for another top of the line starter for their rotation, so I would expect Thome or Konerko to be moved to make that happen.

With a player of Griffey's caliber, it looks like I'll have a lot more to collect the rest of the season. I'm not about to have a heart attack, but I welcome Junior with open arms. You'll love it here Junior, and you'll wonder why you didn't come to Chicago sooner.


Jason T. Carter said...

Don't expect Junior to play center. He has lost a few steps since his Seattle days. He is still very good defensively, but has been injured quite a bit as well. I would not be surprised to see him DH. We (or at least I) will miss him in Cincy. Be sure you guys treat him well. He didn't get the respect he deserved while he was here.

Steve Gierman said...

I know that Griffey's been injured a lot since his move to Cincinnati. Plus, I'm aware that he's lost a few steps since his Seattle days. Unless the Sox trade someone else or move him to first base, I don't see him playing the corner spots.

He will definitely get the respect that he so richly deserves with the Sox.

Jason T. Carter said...

I may even try to make a road trip up to Chicago to see him in his new duds this September. Do the games sell out pretty quickly, or can I wait til I get there to buy?

Steve Gierman said...

Depends on who they're playing. You should be able to find tickets pretty easily on game day. Be warned that you may have to settle for upper deck seats if you wait until game day.

Jason T. Carter said...

Upper deck? I always liked Donruss better. LOL. Terrible joke. Sorry.

Bart McClaughry said...

Congratulations! Jr. back in the American league ought to be interesting.

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