I don't want to be too hard on Griffey because he's a Cincy guy, and I am an admitted Griffey fan. I hope he rediscovers his swing and does well in Chicago. For all the hand-wringing about this trade from disgruntled Sox fans, I really don't think it's an awful trade for them if you use Griffey in the right situations. I would use him as a super sub or in some sort of platoon where he hits righties and maybe pinch hits in late innings. Griffey was never a great clutch hitter with the Reds, but you never knew when he might take one out. If Griffey gives the White Sox a little more lefthanded power and some quality ABs off the bench, he could be valuable for them down the stretch or in the playoffs.
Griffey had some nice moments with the Reds, but the problem with Griffey on the Reds for the last decade was that he was making $12 million a year. Many years, he represented almost 1/4 of the team's payroll, but his production level was nowhere near his salary. In other words, the Reds paid Griffey superstar money for a decade but never received anything closely resembling superstar performance. When you are building around a guy who is either too injured or too old to be a marquee player, you aren't going to win very many games. Griffey has been relatively healthy the last few years, but he's no longer a #3 hitter (even though he still hits there-thanks Dusty) and has become a serious liability in the outfield. When you are paying a guy $12 million to hit .240 and play lousy defense with a lazy attitude and no leadership, you aren't getting much for your dollar. Whether it is fair or not (and obviously Griffey wasn't responsible for all of the Reds problems), Griffey was the symbol of one of the worst eras of Reds baseball in team history.
Today should be a great day for Reds fans. It was a foregone conclusion that Griffey would not be a part of this team next year, but it's still a good feeling to turn the page on the Griffey era. The Reds have been poorly run for a decade, and the jury is still out on what type of leadership Walt Jocketty is going to provide. If this deal accomplishes anything, it gives the Reds a chance to get rid of the dead wood and start fresh with the young core and a new attitude. I've heard that the only guy who really took all the losing personally was Brandon Phillips and that there were too many guys in the clubhouse who didn't care enough about winning. Leadership matters, and Griffey was not the type of guy who would give you great leadership and hold other guys accountable. When Griffey was out there loafing on balls and not running hard, it set a bad example for the Jay Bruces and Joey Vottos of the world. I hope that this team gets turned over to Brandon Phillips now that Griffey is gone.
The priority for the offseason now turns to finding a leadoff hitter who can play shortstop or centerfield and hopefully a new catcher. Griffey frees up $12 million, and I would love to see the Reds dangle Homer Bailey and others to get a dynamic young centerfielder who can hit at the top of the lineup. A decision on Adam Dunn will also have to be made. Stay tuned.
- As far as the Manny Ramirez trade is concerned, what exactly was accomplished in this whole mess?? Did the Red Sox get any better by trading Manny?? Bay is having a great year, but who would you rather have on your roster in the playoffs - Manny Ramirez or Jason Bay??? Manny is the best right handed hitter of his generation, and he always rose to the occasion under the brightest lights. The Red Sox lineup is a little less scary without Manny in there. Yankees fans must be happy to see him out of a Red Sox uniform. Bay is younger and maybe has more long term potential, but Manny in the cleanup spot is much scarier than Jason Bay if you ask me. Then again, Theo Epstein is very smart, and maybe they think Manny is on the verge of a major decline. I'm inclined to think that Bay won't make up for the loss of Manny, but I wouldn't put it past the Red Sox to be ahead of the curve on this one and make everyone look foolish. I'm headed to Boston for a wedding this weekend, so the weekend just got more interesting already. Looking forward to talking some Sawx with the locals.