Don’t bring Griffey back Seattle

The Seattle Times’ Larry Stone thinks that the Mariners should bring Ken Griffey Jr. back. There are many words, but it essentially boils down to this:

I believe Griffey still has something to offer. He can tickle Ichiro, bring laughter to the clubhouse, hit an occasional bomb and take one more crack at October.

Sounds great to me.

With the exception of the occasional bomb, he can do those things as a bench coach. And those occasional bombs are more than outweighed by his other liabilities. Just say no, Seattle.

Retire his number on opening day. Enshrine him in any Hall of Fame at your disposal. Offer him any job in the organization he wants this side of GM. But don’t give the man a roster spot.

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  1. Bradley said...

    I’m sorry, but Ken Griffey Jr. had one of the absolute worst BABIPs last year (.222) and I must, therefore, respectfully disagree, Mr. Calcaterra.

    Using the “Quick Calculator” Chris Dutton’s xBABIP tool, Griffey’s 2009 expected BABIP is (.298). Assuming those extra (.076) points all went for singles, that brings his slash to (.290/.400/.487)—which is spectacular (and a little unreasonable to expect, but still, noteworthy).

    I posit the Seattle Mariners should bring the Kid back.

    If he doesn’t work out, then he doesn’t work out, but I expect he’d be a nice option if given 300-400 PAs.

  2. Richard in Dallas said...

    Junior would be welcomed (at a fair price) by any number of failing franchises that need to put some fannies in the seats (see: Sosa 2008 Rangers). Not that he needs the money, or like there’s any realistic hope of him getting to 700+, but he’s earned the right to decide for himself when he’s done.  I’m sure the Nationals or Blue Jays could capitalize on his name and give him an opportunity to say where the finish line is…

  3. Mark Armour said...

    I’d bring him back.  Unless they have better options I am not aware of, he’s not a bad platoon DH.  He was certainly an above average Mariner hitter last year.  Plus, he’s Ken Griffey Jr.  Doesn’t that count for something?

  4. Bill@TDS said...

    I was looking for a way to argue with this, and I guess the BABIP thing is a decent enough one, but, no, I’m convinced that bringing Junior back would be a bad decision. He’s had a BABIP as high as his “xBABIP” only once in the last eight seasons and twice in the last twelve. Yeah, that should bounce back a little, but he’ll also be 40.

    And of *course* they have better options. Hideki Matsui might want to come there. I’m sure there are other lefty DH types available. Hell, Mike Carp is probably a better bet at this point, provided they bring Branyan back and don’t need Carp to play 1B.

  5. Jonathan (Virginia) said...

    Bradley, using a BABIP calculator is not exactly the best way to judge whether Jr. should be back next year.  Of course his BABIP should come back up next year if he plays, but you can’t assume that
    (1) it will, or
    (2)that if it does that we’ll see any significant change in his overall numbers

    His strikeouts have increased, his ability to hit changeups has gone down (due to cheating on fastballs and leading to more strikeouts), and most importantly he doesn’t hit enough home runs or drive in enough runs to be considered an adequate DH! There are dozens of better options available for the mariners to choose from.

  6. MJ said...

    Using the “Quick Calculator” Chris Dutton’s xBABIP tool, Griffey’s 2009 expected BABIP is (.298). Assuming those extra (.076) points all went for singles, that brings his slash to (.290/.400/.487)—which is spectacular (and a little unreasonable to expect, but still, noteworthy).

    I’ve never used that tool, but .298 is extremely high for Griffey, considering since ‘97 he’s only topped .298 three times, and one of those was .299.  Bill James is projecting him at .251 next year for a wOBA of .328, only slighly better than last year but a continuing decline since ‘03.

    Matsui might not be a bad option if the Yanks don’t pick him up (which they should if they don’t get Holliday).

  7. Ron said...

    Well, as Mark Armour said, he’s Ken Griffey, and in Seattly that does count for something.

    If the fans want him back, then bring him back.

    Or don’t the opinions of the fans count for anything anymore?

    Yeah, I’ll shut up now.

  8. Michael said...

    Craig, you forget that the Times is the home of one Geoff Baker.

    His dogged insistence that Ichiro was the cause of all the team’s 2008 losses was proven correct when the team brought Griffey in to distract Ichiro from, um, cancering his teammates.

    Therefore, losing Griffey would immediately send the team back to its 100-loss mode, where all teammates hate Ichiro for not hitting home runs and having his own warmup regimen, thus causing said teammates to not hit, catch or throw properly.

    Griffey must now remain on the roster until such time as his death, at which point there will be grassroots support for having him stuffed and mounted on a wheeled cart, enabling him to be the M’s DH in perpetuity.

  9. Bradley said...

    I understand that xBABIP isn’t the end-all of predictors, but I think his 2009 season can be classified at least as “unlucky.”

    Also, if he’s truly struggling with the change-up (as his 2009 numbers indicate), then some one should tell the league, because he’s seeing more fastballs/cutters and way less change-ups (from 12% in ‘08 to 9% in ‘09).

  10. Rick said...

    Michael – I appreciate the sarcasm, and the message behind it, but I think you are incorrect in pinning that attitude on Baker.  What Geoff accurately reported was that there were some Ichiro haters on the 2008 roster and that it was a problem that needed to be dealt with.  The team did deal with it, by dealing Putz (the guy who wanted to punch Ichiro out), then Yuni (rumored to be disgruntled over favoritism showed Japanese players), and making Silva irrelevant (though his arm had already done that).  Of course Ichiro wasn’t the problem, as 2009 proved, but there was certainly a problem.  Baker reported it accurately, and the team dealt with it the right way.

  11. Michael said...

    Rick: I wasn’t being terribly sarcastic.

    And your synopsis glosses over Baker’s angle to an amazing degree.

    The only thing I agree on is that the team knew where the real problem was, and got rid of them. The irony is that the conventional media guys, of which Baker is one, and Stone is apparently another (usually he’s better than that), believe Griffey solved the problem.

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