[...] Vote Can Griffey Make an Impact at Age 39? [...]
This is the overview, one of five articles. The sabermetric data is in the other four articles:
Q. Can I have the exec summary?
A. You shore kan. How about in the picture at right? :- )
Q: Could he make a difference in 2009?
A. Yes, he could. Here's the split that pulls the below support data together:
Ken Griffey Jr., Platoon Splits, 2006-08
vs RHP - .284 / .378 / .508
vs LHP - .216 / .294 / .395
vs RHP - 148 BB, 163 K
vs LHP - 54 BB, 103 K
Griffey wasn't spectacular vs RHP last year -- 120 OPS+ -- but that's a short data pool. He had a 57/50 eye (that's 57 walks, not strikeouts) -- saw and reacted to them beautifully.
Q. Should he play vs LHP?
A. His platoon split is now a good, solid, predictable 200 points.
2008 - 192 points diff
2007 - 208 points diff
2006 - 198 points diff
Griff can't get around on lefties ten years younger than him. Against righties, though, he's giving you 30 doubles, 30 homers, 100 walks, and a 7.0 RC/27 every 550 AB's.
Q. Can you plan on his staying healthy?
A. See the three articles below. Yes, you can plan on Griffey staying healthy, especially as a platoon player at DH, 1B, and backup OF.
Griffey hasn't missed much playing time at all, the last four years. Like Edgar, he missed 2-3 years just after age 30, and then settled in to play consistently.
Griff would probably stay healthy as a platoon player, yes. And as a platoon player, you can plan on his being the 2009 Mariners' best hitter.
Griffey in 2007 and 2008 swooned badly in the second half. A platoon takes care of that too!
Q. You really think Griffey would platoon?
A. If they smiled and talked to Griff sweet, and showed him these numbers, and said, "Hey Junior, we want you in Seattle, and we have some kids, and we want to get you the 400 AB's but give some other guys the LHP's...."
"We think you'd have a real big year in 400-450 AB's pounding the righties. Would you please?"
-- You'd probably get 25 balls bounced off that plexiglass :- ) and a 7.0 RC/27 platoon player.
If Junior refused to platoon, I'd reluctantly have to pass. But hey. "Look, Junior, we'd love to have you pound the righties and hang around our young guys and let a couple of the kids take the lefties. Would you do it for us?"
Griffey REALLY wants to come back to Seattle and get some standing O's. He's richly deserving.
A. You're not talking about Griff starting as an OF .... and you're not talking about hitting him vs many LH'ers at all ... and you're not talking about paying him $15M ... and you're not talking about building a team around him.
But letting Junior draw his walks and hit his HR's, against RHP? From the DH spot and backing up at a little 1B and DH? Sure, he could provide you some of that moneyball Frank Thomas type action.
Zduriencik is talking about adding a big lefty bat. Assuming that Dunn goes to the Angels or somebody, a 450-AB Junior is a legit option. And we're talking about a park suited to him.
Look, we're talking about this generation's Willie Mays. It's not like it's crazy to ask if he can hit. :- )
Q. Do you have upside?
A. Griffey has always been about wanting to be loved. Put him in an environment in which he's loved -- and he would be -- and I'm sure you'd see his best.
And you'd have my son in tears. And you'd have me at many more ballgames.
At 39, the magic is still possible. Safeco increases the possibility. Seattle increases the possibility. A platoon increases it again, and the freshness that comes from sitting 2 days a week increases it yet again.
And what if he does have a tough season? Then DL him and phase other people in.
Q. But can you win your next pennant with him?
A. *That* is the argument against Griffey. No, you can't.*
This would be one roster spot -- of 25 -- that doesn't fit the 3-year plan. This would be one roster spot -- out of 25 roster spots -- that would be a short-term idea.
Can you afford to spend 1 of 25 roster spots on an idea that isn't consistent with your plan? I think you can, because...
*Unless in the back of your mind you want to take a shot in 2009 if things work out...
Isn't that what Billy Beane does? See if he can't get some goodie out of an aging Frank Thomas type and then surprise people if he can?
Q. Why do you want Griffey anywhere near this roster if you can't win anyway in 2009?
A. Let me ask you something.
Why would you ever spend $25 on a View Box seat, rather than $7 on a centerfield bleacher? Are the Mariners any more likely to win if you spend the $25?
That $18 delta that you spend has nothing to do with the W/L standings. That $18 delta is about your general enjoyment of the evening, not about W's and L's.
Very few people spend $7 or $11 to get bleacher seats, but that's what they would spend if baseball were about nothing but the W or L. Everything you spend past $7 or $11 is spent on the other things, not on the W's and L's.
Ken Griffey Jr. would impact my involvement in a Mariners baseball game -- more than would the difference between an $11 and a $25 seat.
If you realllllly, realllly need that #25 roster slot for something better than Chris Shelton, then be my guest. If Junior's presence is the difference on Wlad getting AB's, or if you think you could investigate Bryan Lahair's potential to hit 40 home runs with those AB's -- if Griff's time is that crucial -- then fine.
But if you can execute your 3-year plan, and still spend 1 roster slot of 25 on making every seat worth $10 more, then I think you should do that.
If you can get Tex or Dunn :- ) then great.
But if it's Chris Shelton, Bryan Lahair or Ken Griffey Jr, I'd suggest remembering why we're all here in the first place.
I'll agree that he can. The issue that I see is that he really believes he can contribute as a full time player and even play in the outfield. I don't expect any teams will believe the outfield thing, and few will want to use him at first base with his low numbers and age. There might be an AL team out there that will sign him as a DH and he would take that if offered.
If offered is the key phrase here. The concept of signing a aging an aging superstar to DH used to be a big one. Now it seems to be out of favor and the last GM I saw to like it was Bill Bavasi. The White Sox brought him on for the pennant chase, but have lost interest in him. While I believe that most AL teams will be like the White Sox, I wouldn't bet the farm on it. That's what he's looking for right now, and we will have to wait to see if he can get it. I just don't believe he'll get it, but I wouldn't bet against another GM being as dumb as Bavasi. I just haven't seen it for some time.
In the end, I believe Zduriencik will see the logic in your position. That is, if one of two things don't happen. One, Griffey doesn't get an offer with another AL team. Two, Zduriencik doesn't find a younger LH bat that will do the same thing. The way this scenario will work out is if both parties, Griffey and Zduriencik don't get their first choice and have to settle for their second choice. So we'll have to wait for February for this to happen. At least that's my theory. I'll give it a decent chance of happening, but I don't see it happening any time soon.
Well Griffey is definetly aging. Increasing RH/LH splits, decreasing power, increasing FB%, decreasing LD%... signs of slowing batspeed. Still even last year Griffey hit .272/.379/.462 vs RHP with 33 extra base hits in less than 400 PAs (slightly unlucky BA). Hes also had a good eye vs RHB with 57 BBs vs 50 Ks.
Granted its in a bandbox in the NL, but its quite possible that he'll be able to produce against RHP one more time in '09. If he agrees to being a platoon DH, I say why not.
You'll be working two platoons at 1b/DH, but if they produce no one will complain.
"But if it’s Chris Shelton, Bryan Lahair or Ken Griffey Jr, I’d suggest remembering why we’re all here in the first place."
Well, Chris Shelton (regardless of how I feel about his long term prospects) is absolutely making the club because Russell Branyan is actually (this isn't hyperbole) an automatic out against lefties. However, I get the point. KGJ over a random scrub with limited upside such as Bryan Lahair.
Part of me thinks, "2009 is a long shot anyway, why not bring the Kid back." That alone would keep me tuned into every game for a month.
I think the Safeco factor is pretty overstated. IIRC, one of the reasons Griffey wanted out was that he didn't like the new park. Safeco is still a pretty difficult place for lefties to hit and Griffey is leaving two pretty hitter friendly parks. The only place I can think of that saw a spike while playing in Safeco is Raul Ibanez but Al Martin, Ben Davis, Randy Winn, Carl Everett, Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson got no help from Safeco. It will be interesting to see next year, but Raul might have been someone who was good enough that he still looked like a star even after Safeco trimmed his numbers. Still I think Griffey could but up solid if unspectacular numbers.
Depending on how much, Balentien or Clement (and later Saunders and Carp) need to use that DH spot would be how I evaluated this move. Those are the guys who should be getting AB's next year.
Just for fun lets run a roster with Griffey
C: Clement (2)
1B: Branyan (1)
DH: Griffey (1)
I've attached the number of roster spots you'd need to back up each of the positions. You've already burned most of your bench without a middle infielder or a backup outfielder.
C- Rob Johnson/ Jamie Burke
1B- Chris Shelton
OF/DH- Wlad Balentien
This actually could work though you'd get mulched in close/late situations because it would be quite eazy to neutralize most of this teams strengths with basic pitching substitutions.
I guess it's not going to help you win to many ballgames, but why not.
++I think the Safeco factor is pretty overstated. IIRC, one of the reasons Griffey wanted out was that he didn’t like the new park. Safeco is still a pretty difficult place for lefties to hit and Griffey is leaving two pretty hitter friendly parks.++
Right Coug, but are we talking about Griff's raw numbers going up, or are we talking about his having a competitive advantage over right-hand hitters?
As you know, Safeco really does chop-block righty hitters. The lefty batters who even cope, much less those who hold their ground 100%, in effect become better players...
As to your roster point ... I agree ... you wind up with Griffey-Clement-Johjima-Branyan-Shelton splitting 3 positions. (Wlad I have in LF with Chavez purely a 4th OF).
Problemo I guess is that against LHP, you either bat Clement (with Joh and Shelton) or Wlad does eat into some of those AB's.
Same problem if you have Dunn, of course.
Always awesome to hear from you Vidya :- )
++ In the end, I believe Zduriencik will see the logic in your position. That is, if one of two things don’t happen. One, Griffey doesn’t get an offer with another AL team. Two, Zduriencik doesn’t find a younger LH bat that will do the same thing. The way this scenario will work out is if both parties, Griffey and Zduriencik don’t get their first choice and have to settle for their second choice.++
Might go the other way here.
1. After watching Griffey following the return, it's hard to imagine his turning down Seattle.
2. If by 'younger bat' you mean Adam Dunn or similar, agree .... if we're talking about an org guy like Lahair, I'm hoping Zduriencik's comments about "adding a power bat" refer to going outside the org...
What so many folks keep over looking is that the GM position has two responsibilities. One is to put together a team with an eye to the future. Two, is to put together a team that will put butts into seats in the here and now. If I'm an owner and I have a GM who puts a blind eye to the here and now, I would be putting in a lot of input (read: pressure) to do *something* to put some butts into the seats. No owner in his right mind writes off a season or two *hoping* for a return on the investment in 3 years. That is business suicide.
Griffey would put more butts into the seats than any other player on the market. Adam Dunn would be more attractive to those of us who are a bit more heady about our baseball, but we are the minority. Joe Casual Fan out-numbers us by a couple orders of magnitude, and it is Griffey who would be bringing in Joe and his family to the game.
[...] this article, the first of five, for an SSI series on Griffey. - Dr [...]
[...] Junior has hit .284/.378/.508 vs RHP the last three years, with an eye of almost 1.0. He had 57 walks against 50 strikeouts against [...]