Rays don’t need Griffey

June 16, 2008 at 9:32 am 6 comments

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There have been grumblings that the Rays may make a trade to get the services of future Hall of Famer and fan favorite Ken Griffey Jr. and Griffey has told friends he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause for the surprising Rays, but other than the fact the Rays might sell more tickets this is a bad move for the Rays.

A bunch of reporters and writers have all made assumptions that the Rays are going to trade for a veteran rightfielder to fill the “void” they have there. The latest rumor has been for Griffey Jr. but it makes zero sense to me. The Rays rightfielders this season have a .771 OPS and that includes Nathan Haynes time as a rightfielder. Griffey Jr. has a .758 OPS and is last among all NL qualifying rightfielders with a .248 batting AVG.

While Griffey does have 42 walks and is a decent defender the current platoon of Gabe Gross (great defender) and Erik Hinkse is out-producing Griffey in all areas but walks. Even if Griffey were the DH it won’t be a huge pick-up over Floyd/Gomes/Hinkse.

The other thing I don’t like about this possible trade for the Rays is the money and the cost they’d have to give up. Griffey is making 12.5M this year and the Rays would be on the hook for the rest. Also, there is a 16.5M option for 2009 with a $4M buyout. If the Rays acquired Griffey at the deadline they would have to pay him a little over $4M then they would have to pick up the option or pay the buyout. The Rays would likely pay the buyout thus spending $8M for 2+ months of his service and giving up at least two prospects.

Not worth it.

If the Rays are serious about getting someone to play RF for them they need to look away from Griffey and other aged veterans like Brian Giles. FoxSports.com’s Jeff Moore wrote how the Rays should trade Erik Hinske, Jeff Niemann, and top position prospect Desmond Jennings for Brian Giles, and he said this would be “cheap” for the Rays. The Rays would be stuck with about $6M in salary and lose two of their top prospects and one of their better power hitters this season. This was one of the most ridiculous trade proposals I have ever seen!

If the Rays want to go bold on a rightfielder I have an option that was proposed to me by fellow writer Mike McGinnis. Go after Astros’ rightfielder Hunter Pence.

The Rays would have to give up a ton for him but they would have him under control for this season and four more seasons. He’s a good glove, a great hitter, a good eye, and a good guy. The Rays could offer the Astros a package headlined by young pitching, something the Astros desperately need. They could offer Edwin Jackson, Jake McGee, Chris Mason, Ryan Royster, and another prospect for Pence. That is a hefty ransom but a good deal for both clubs.

My take on this is that there really aren’t any good options available unless you go all out for a guy like Pence. The Rays don’t need a two month rental. They guys they have are doing well and they also have Rocco Baldelli (I know, he’s always injured) who could possibly come back. It’s all or nothing if you’re going to acquire a rightfielder for the stretch run and Giles and Griffey are closer to nothing.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. supremesportsjustice  |  June 16, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Jonathan, we usually agree on most areas, but I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on this one. That’s what contending teams do…rent players for a few months. The Rays would never make this deal unless Cincy kicked in a substantial amount of cash to cover the buyout. And to be honest, with the increase of fans Griffey would put into the seats, the Rays may very well keep him for another season. It’s his presence in the lineup that would be as much of a factor as his bat. And I don’t believe the Reds would be looking for top tier talent in return for Griffey. They’d just assume clear his money off the books, plus feel like they’re doing right by him by sending him to a contending team.

    I agree Brian Giles would be a bad move for the Rays, but I think Griffey would be revitalized with the Rays…playing for a contender again.

    And there’s almost zero chance the Astros would deal Pence, one of their up and coming stars. Of course, he’d be a great addition…but I don’t see that happening.

    Great column, of course…I just disagree with you on this one. I say Griffey to Reds should be a go!

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  June 16, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Thanks! I agree that contending teams do that but not when the player they are getting is 39 years old and has a big salary and isn’t performing as well as the current RF platoon in Tampa Bay. If it’s Magglio Ordonez as a rental then yeah it’s a good deal but not an aging Griffey that is putting up bad numbers in the weaker league in a hitter’s haven.

    Reply
  • 3. MikeMcGinnis  |  June 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    good article i see the pros and cons of getting a guy like griffey and i too wouldn’t pull the trigger on the trade.

    trust me i think with the wealth of young pitching the rays have they could at least get the astros to listen about pence.

    the market these days clearly shows that giving up hitting even young promising bats for pitching is the way to go.

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  June 17, 2008 at 6:31 am

    I agree Mike. The Rays did it with Delmon Young to get Matt Garza.

    Reply
  • 5. Kevin  |  June 17, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    i think griffey going to the rays would be a intersting thing. but i honestly would like Griffey to finish his career with the Reds. i mean lets think about it, hes more of a fan favorite in Cincy then he will ever be in Tampa. I think Tampa would be better off without him.

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  June 17, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I agree Kevin. His hometown in Cincy so they love him there but he lives in Orlando and is a likeable player. I think the Rays are better off without him.

    Reply

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