There has been a lot of talk recently that future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. wants to return to the Seattle Mariners in 2010. I for one, think this is great. Griffey has earned the right to play for as long as he wants.
Griffey has said repeatedly that this season has been the most fun he has had in awhile and his energy has rubbed off on teammates. He has brought leadership to the Mariner’s clubhouse and from an organizational perspective, he can still put people in the seats.
However, if the Mariners are serious about winning in 2010, then Griffey can come back, as long as he is a bench/part-time player. Going into last night’s action, Griffey is hitting .218 with 14 homeruns and 43 RBI in 325 AB’s.
He no longer should be starting for a team that plans to be in contention.
Griffey, along with Mike Sweeney have spent the majority of the year as the Mariners’ DH’s. Overall Mariners’ DH’s are 12th in the AL in batting avg. (237), 13th in RBI (58), and 13th in runs scored (55).
Current GM Jack Zduriencik has tried to build the Mariners around defense. In the past year he has brought in Endy Chavez, Franklin Gutierrez, Jack Wilson, and Bill Hall. All of whom are plus defensive players. While I appreciate that approach, at some point he has got to bring in a guy who can drive in runs.
This is where signing a DH comes into play. Zduriencik can bring in offense without sacraficing the defense.
This offseason, there are a plethora (word always reminds me of the Three Amigos) of DH-type players available on the free agent market. Jim Thome, Hideki Matsui, Hank Blalock, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Delgado, and Vladimir Guerrero all have their services available after the 2009 season.
The Mariners would be smart to sign one of them. My guess is that after Johnny Damon re-signs with the New York Yankees, Hideki Matsui ends up in a Seattle Mariners uniform.
Even though he will be 36 at the start of next season, Matsui can still hit the long ball — something the Mariners need and he would be extremely popular with the very large Asian population in Seattle.
The Mariners should re-sign Griffey, but they also need to sign a DH. They could use the offense.