Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The Griffey Ultimatum
I warned you. I warned all of you. As much as Hawk is still performing the oral roto-rooter on Griffey, this guy is not getting the job done. He strikes out when we need him most (most notably a three-strikeout performance against Detroit last week), and grounds into a double-play where possible. He is the exact opposite of the RISP production we thought we were getting.
Strangely, I'm not going to complain about the hitting (yet). Griffey is probably putting a lot of pressure on himself at the plate, and that can result in some junk AB's. He's not fast enough to turn a groundout into anything else. He will turn it around at the plate (he has to), but that's not one of my major gripes:
First, why are we starting him in center? Like, ever?
Griffey is the worst possible combination in Center Field. He has the speed of Mo Vaughn and the durability of Fred Taylor. Last I checked, that is a recipe for disaster. He can't catch up to routine fly balls (I saw a particularly easy one get cut-off after the hop at the end of the Boston series that Anderson or Wise could have caught standing up...or sleeping), he doesn't have the abilities he had when younger, and eventually, all this "running" will put him on the DL. Griffey has essentially become Carl Everett...without the ability to hit. That kills his value more than the bible killed Carl's belief in dinosaurs.
Second, have you noticed his disturbing "stiffness" trend? Griffey gets better treatment that Guillen's mother. Hot out and I made you bat 7th? Take the day off, I'll put Swisher in center. Smile too hard for a photo-op? Don't you worry, I'll get you into the trainer's room ASAP - rest for now, and I'll put Anderson in center. Spill your apple juice? Don't worry, mommy will get it.
This is baseball!
Last I checked, you play baseball to PLAY. If you want to make a shitload of money by doing nothing, take the Albert Belle route and retire when your new contract kicks in. Maybe get a restraining order on your ex to seal the deal, I don't care. I understand that part of this might be Guillen saying "you suck at the plate, thank goodness there's an excuse to put someone else in today" (which roughly sounds like "!@$#&ing kid needs to #$%@& his #$*&."), but you can only do that so much while continuing to sit Konerko (who, might I add, has shown a little bit of life as of late).
I get the feeling that Griffey is going to be more detrimental than helpful over the longrun. He'll want his playing time (batting between 3rd and 6th, of course), he'll push useful defenders to the bench (no one's going to bench Thome for Griffey as DH on a regular basis), and he's going to get hurt. It's just a matter of time.
As for me, I'm going to wait and see how long it takes before the Griffey effect spreads...