Tag Archives: Ken Griffey Jr

Season Previews in Review: American League West


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East and AL Central previously, and now it’s on to the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Predicted Record: 86-76            Actual Record: 80-82

I’m not entirely sure what happened with this team. The only event that I can pinpoint that stands out as a major turning point in the season was the loss of Kendry Morales for the season back in late May. Their pitching seemed suspect at the beginning of the season, and might have been worse had it not been for the midseason acquisition of Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks. The Angels continue to develop solid players though, with Peter Bourjos coming up after the All-Star break and should continue to develop next season. This team needs a bit of help in the offseason, but should do well and spend what is needed to do that.

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Midseason Review


We are halfway through the season and as happens every year, it doesn’t quite go exactly as we all thought it would.

Right before the season started, I wrote up my preseason predictions of how I thought the playoffs and awards would go:

American League

Correct so far: New York Yankees
Incorrect so far: Boston Red Sox (Tampa Bay Rays), Minnesota Twins (Chicago White Sox), Seattle Mariners (Texas Rangers)

National League

Correct so far: None
Incorrect so far: Philadelphia Phillies (Atlanta Braves), Chicago Cubs (Cincinnati Reds), Los Angeles Dodgers (San Diego Padres), St. Louis Cardinals (Colorado Rockies)

League Leaders at the Half

Batting Average: Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Josh Hamilton (TEX) – .346
Runs: Carl Crawford (TAM) – 70
Hits: Martin Prado (ATL) – 121
Home Runs: Jose Bautista (TOR) – 24
Runs Batted In: Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 77
Stolen Bases: Juan Pierre (CHW) – 32

Wins: Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 15
ERA: Josh Johnson (FLA) – 1.70
Strikeouts: Jered Weaver (LAA) – 137
Saves: Joakim Soria (KC) – 25

The Top Stories

The Year of the Pitcher Again?

The pitchers look like they may have gained back some of the advantage again versus the hitters, as we’re seeing a lot of amazing performances out of both elite and non-elite pitchers.

Starting Pitchers with an ERA under 3.00: 17
Starting Pitchers with 10+ wins: 12
Starting Pitchers with a FIP under 3.00: 6
Starting Pitchers with a WHIP under 1.10: 14

And of course, there’s the no-hitters:

Let’s not forget Armando Galarraga either, and his near-perfecto on June 2nd.

Ken Griffey Jr Abruptly Retires

Almost randomly,  Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement on June 2nd. I wrote up my thoughts on his career shortly after the announcement, but the long and short of it remains that Griffey always seemed to be having more fun than anyone else on the field, and was really a joy to watch play, no matter what he was doing.  I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going into the Hall of Fame at first opportunity.

Sadly, the story was lost among the Armando Galarraga near perfect game, as it happened about an hour after the announcement. Hopefully the Mariners will have him back at some point before the end of the season to really give him a great sendoff.

The Cliff Lee Sweepstakes

The Mariners were widely predicted to win the AL West on the strength of the arms of Felix Hernandez and offseason acquisition Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, the team has floundered quite a bit, to the point where it became only a matter of time for the Mariners to start selling off the pieces, including their newly acquired ace Lee. The trade discussions centered around the unlikely competitors of the Reds, Twins, and Rangers, along with the usual suspects (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays). Nearly every top prospect in their systems was mentioned as the potential trade pieces in return. It was even stranger when the Mariners had come to a deal with the Yankees, only to have that one fall apart and be replaced by a trade with the Rangers. I wrote up what I thought of the trade, and really liked it for both teams involved.

Break Up the Reds and the Padres!

Completely unexpectedly, the Reds and the Padres are both leading their divisions as we approach the All-Star break. The Padres are doing it with the best pitching in the Majors, led by young phenom Mat Latos (10-4, 2.45) and top power hitter Adrian Gonzalez (.301, 18 HR, 56 RBI). The Reds are being led by MVP candidate Joey Votto (.315, 22 HR, 60 RBI, 1.014 OPS), and a resurgent Scott Rolen (.292, 17 HR, 57 RBI). I honestly think that barring some unexpected injuries or other unusual circumstances, both teams have the talent available to hold on to their leads throughout the rest of the season.

3 Teams, A Maxiumum of 2 Spots

The AL East continues to improve every single year, as the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees have been trading 1st through 3rd in the division back and forth all season. Through Friday’s games, all 3 teams have the 3 top records in the American League. Clearly, this presents a problem, as only 2 of them can make the playoffs. Someone is going to have to separate themselves at some point, but I’m not sure when that is going to happen. The Rays got off to a hot start, but have struggled of late. The Yankees got off to a slow start but have come on strong and now lead the division. Even the Red Sox are only 5 games back despite having suffered an unusually high amount of injuries. Someone is going to be sitting at home unhappy despite potentially winning 90+ games in that division.

Managers Available for Hire

We could be looking at potentially having nearly half the teams in the Majors change managers by the start of the 2011 season. 4 teams have already gotten the ball started, with Fredi Gonzalez (Marlins), Trey Hillman (Royals), Dave Trembley (Orioles) and A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks. In addition, major skippers like Joe Torre of the Dodgers and Lou Piniella of the Cubs are both in the final year of their contracts, and it appears that more and more that neither man is likely to return. And of course, there is the expected retirement of the Braves’ Bobby Cox and Blue Jays’ Cito Gaston after this season as well. Invariably, there will be some other managers that could lose their jobs before the start of next year, and my own speculation leads me to think that potentially teams like the Brewers, Pirates, Athletics and even the Mariners could all potentially see new managers as well.

The Rookie Class of 2010

It seems like this year’s rookie class is by far one of the best in many years. The season started out with Atlanta Braves’ OF Jason Heyward making the team out of Spring Training, and has not let up ever since. 13 of Baseball America’s Top 20 prospects have already made their debuts, and many of them are seeing a lot of success.

  • Carlos Santana of the Indians is hitting .284 with 5 HR and 16 RBI since being called up on June 11th.
  • Buster Posey of the Giants is hitting .333 with 6 HR and 20 RBI while playing both catcher and first base.
  • Tyler Colvin of the Cubs has hit 12 homeruns in part time playing time so far this season.
  • Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch of the Tigers have been going back and forth for the AL Rookie of the Year award. Jackson got off to a hot start, but Boesch has passed him at this point. Boesch is leading all rookies with 12 homeruns and 48 runs batted in, and also is hitting .345.
  • Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins is quietly hitting .299 with 9 homeruns and 38 runs batted in.
  • Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals has exceeded all expectations, posting an 8-4 record with a 2.17 ERA and 80 strikeouts so far.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds surprised everyone by coming up without playing a single game in the minors and has a 6-1 record with a 3.53 ERA.
  • Neftali Feliz of the Rangers has stabilized the back end of their bullpen, recording 23 saves and earning himself an All-Star appearance.

Other top prospects that have come up as well: Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Alcides Escobar of the Brewers, Ike Davis of the Mets, and Justin Smoak of the Rangers… er Mariners.

Clearly though, the most anticipated debut didn’t come until June 8th…

Strasburg

June 8th was the Major League debut of the phenom, Nationals’ top prospect Stephen Strasburg. His starts in the minors were selling out every time through. He was sent down to the Minors after Spring Training to work on his performance with runners on base. As if he was actually allowing any of those down there. His minor league numbers (AA and AAA): 11 starts, 7-2, 1.30 ERA, 65 strikeouts to 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched. At times, his stuff looked absolutely dominant, but the concern remained: Could he repeat this performance at the Major League level?

For the most part, the answer to that question is a resounding Yes. His debut against the lowly Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 walks, and a victory in 7 innings. So far, he has a 3-2 record with a 2.32 ERA and 61 strikeouts in just 42 2/3 innings pitched. He has had some games where his control has been less than stellar, including the 5 walk performance against the Indians. I have to admit, I thought that he would have some struggles when he got up to the Majors, but I didn’t anticipate the excellent performance overall that he has given to this point. The longer that Jason Heyward stays on the disabled list, the more likely it becomes that Strasburg will win the Rookie of the Year award for the National League. He simply looks dominant out there in nearly every start, and the stuff he throws is simply amazing. I hope he can stay healthy long term, as he is really going to be something special if he can.

Overall Reactions

After so many games being played, it has been a really good season to this point. As it seems to happen every season, there are some things that don’t go the way everyone expects, but it definitely makes it more interesting when there are new stories that emerge over the span of the season. It looks like it’s going to be a good race in many of the divisions, and could go down to the wire.

No post on Tuesday this week, and I’ll be back with a new post on Wednesday.

The Month in Review – June 2010


As we rapidly approach the All Star break, I can honestly say that once again we’ve had quite a bit going on in the world of baseball to this point. Rookies making their debut all over the place, no-hitters everywhere (and near no-hitters), retirements, and of course the start of the trade deadline rumor mill.

All-Star Teams

Every month prior to the All-Star break, I will create my All-Star teams for each league. I plan on following the same guidelines given to the managers of the All-Star game when selecting my teams for each month. Those would be:

  • 34 man rosters, 21 position players, 13 pitchers
  • Each team must be represented

Now that we’ve received the final voting updates for the All-Star game, I will start the lineups with that, and build the team around that. All stats are through Tuesday’s games.

American League


American League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Joe Mauer MIN .302 .378 41 3 34 1
1B Justin Morneau MIN .347 .445 47 15 50 0
2B Robinson Cano NYY .358 .407 56 15 53 2
3B Evan Longoria TAM .296 .373 46 12 53 12
SS Derek Jeter NYY .286 .346 50 8 39 8
OF Ichiro Suzuki SEA .335 .391 31 3 24 21
OF Carl Crawford TAM .315 .379 57 7 38 27
OF Josh Hamilton TEX .343 .386 52 18 58 6
DH Vladimir Guerrero TEX .330 .375 49 16 63 4
American League Reserves
Pos
Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Mike Napoli LAA .262 .346 29 13 40 0
1B Paul Konerko CHW .295 .389 40 12 52 1
1B Miguel Cabrera DET .338 .414 57 20 67 2
1B Kevin Youkilis BOS .301 .421 62 15 50 2
2B Ty Wigginton BAL .262 .346 29 13 40 0
3B Adrian Beltre BOS .349 .387 40 12 52 1
SS Elvis Andrus TEX .296 .378 52 0 24 22
OF Alexis Rios CHW .307 .365 49 13 40 21
OF Vernon Wells TOR .288 .340 44 19 47 4
OF Shin-Soo Choo CLE .285 .387 46 12 42 12
OF Brett Gardner NYY .321 .403 49 3 23 24
DH Jose Guillen KC .279 .342 41 13 47 1
American League Pitching Staff
Role Name
Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Cliff Lee SEA 7 3 0 95.2 2.45 0.92 78
SP Jered Weaver LAA 7 3 0 101.2 3.01 1.09 118
SP David Price TAM 11 3 0 99.2 2.44 1.21 84
SP Jon Lester BOS 9 3 0 107 2.86 1.11 111
SP Colby Lewis TEX 7 5 0 98.2 3.28 1.07 94
SP Andy Pettitte NYY 9 2 0 99.1 2.72 1.16 74
SP C.C. Sabathia NYY 9 3 0 108.1 3.49 1.15 89
SP Shaun Marcum TOR 7 3 0 103.1 3.14 1.13 81
RP Jose Valverde DET 1 1 18 34 0.53 0.68 32
RP Rafael Soriano TAM 2 0 18 27.2 1.63 0.76 26
RP Neftali Feliz TEX 1 1 20 33.1 2.70 0.96 37
RP Mariano Rivera NYY 2 1 17 29.1 0.92 0.61 29
RP Andrew Bailey OAK 0 0 15 32 1.69 0.97 23

The National League

National League Starters
Pos Name Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Yadier Molina STL .235 .313 14 3 30 6
1B Albert Pujols STL .312 .424 44 18 57 7
2B Chase Utley PHI .277 .383 49 11 37 5
3B Placido Polanco PHI .318 .349 39 5 27 3
SS Hanley Ramirez FLA .293 .378 43 12 50 14
OF Ryan Braun MIL .299 .358 48 11 49 11
OF Andrew McCutchen* PIT .298 .378 48 7 24 19
OF Andre Ethier LAD .312 .370 37 12 47 1
DH Joey Votto CIN .313 .415 49 17 54 7
* – Injury replacement for Jason Heyward
National League Reserves
Pos Name
Team AVG OBP R HR RBI SB
C Miguel Olivo COL .308 .368 34 11 38 4
1B Adrian Gonzalez SD .302 .395 42 16 51 0
1B Troy Glaus ATL .264 .368 41 14 56 0
1B Adam Dunn WAS .271 .361 43 17 47 0
2B Martin Prado ATL .334 .376 55 7 33 3
3B David Wright NYM .310 .392 43 14 61 13
3B Scott Rolen CIN .301 .368 41 17 53 0
SS Juan Uribe SF .270 .340 37 12 45 1
OF Justin Upton ARI .268 .351 47 14 39 11
OF Colby Rasmus STL .275 .370 46 16 40 8
OF Corey Hart MIL .278 .345 39 18 60 4
OF Carlos Gonzalez* COL .302 .330 47 12 46 11
*roster replacement for Jason Heyward
National League Pitching Staff
Role Name Team W L SV IP ERA WHIP K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez COL 14 1 0 113 1.83 1.05 102
SP Josh Johnson FLA 8 3 0 108 1.83 0.96 107
SP Roy Halladay PHI 9 6 0 108 2.29 1.07 102
SP Tim Lincecum SF 8 3 0 103.2 3.12 1.25 117
SP Mike Pelfrey NYM 10 2 1 99.2 2.72 1.07 70
SP Tim Hudson ATL 8 3 0 106.1 2.37 1.17 51
SP Jaime Garcia STL 7 4 0 87.1 2.27 1.26 70
SP Adam Wainwright STL 11 5 0 119.1 2.34 1.03 114
RP Matt Lindstrom HOU 2 1 18 31.1 3.16 1.6 7.18
RP Matt Capps WAS 0 3 22 33.2 3.48 1.46 30
RP Heath Bell SD 3 0 21 32.2 1.93 1.41 43
RP Billy Wagner ATL 5 0 15 30.1 1.19 0.96 46
RP Carlos Marmol CHC 2 1 14 35.2 2.27 1.21 66

I took Jason Heyward out of the starting lineup since he has already stated that if he is selected, he won’t play due to his thumb injury. I picked McCutchen to replace him in the lineup as both Braun and Ethier are corner outfielders, and McCutchen plays CF. Other players who are likely to be replaced, but have not been as of yet: Chase Utley (who I would replace with Casey McGehee of the Brewers), and Placido Polanco (who I would replace with Ryan Zimmerman). Looking at the All-Star starters, the only one who really hasn’t done a whole lot offensively to deserve it at this point, to me anyway, is Yadier Molina. But it’s hard to argue with a catcher who has a pitching staff with 2 All-Star starting pitchers and a 3rd who is also deserving (Chris Carpenter).

My Award Winners to Date

AL MVP –  Miguel Cabrera (DET)
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (STL)
AL Cy Young – Cliff Lee (SEA)
NL Cy Young – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)
AL Rookie of the Year – Brennan Boesch (DET)
NL Rookie of the Year – Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Weekly Links and Weeks in Review

May 31-June 6
June 7-June 13
June 14-June 20
June 21-June 27

June was an extremely busy month for stories, with so many that I had honestly forgotten a few of them before I reviewed my week-in-review posts.

  • On June 2nd, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement abruptly, about an hour before that evening’s game. I wrote up my thoughts about him here, and also wrote up my thoughts on him as a fantasy player over at FakeTeams.
  • Unfortunately, the retirement of Griffey was overshadowed by the near-perfect game that was thrown on the same night by Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga. By now, it seems to have blown over, as it is not really mentioned nearly as much as it was when it happened. I wrote up my thoughts on it at the time, and I think that they are still pretty apt a month later.
  • It was a bit of an up-and-down month for Carlos Zambrano, as he was brought back into the rotation early on in the month, only to have blown his top in the dugout of his last start on the 25th. He is currently on the restricted list and is seeking treatment in New York. What that treatment is exactly for is anyone’s guess, but I would have to imagine it has something to do with his temper. Hopefully he’ll be able to return after the All-Star break to the form that had made him an All-Star previously.
  • Yet another no-hitter was thrown in the month of June, with Edwin Jackson of the Diamondbacks throwing one on June 25th. The story with the no-hitter seemed to be 2 fold: One, that manager A.J. Hinch had left Jackson in the game to throw a total of 149 pitches to get through the start, and two, that Jackson had allowed 10 different baserunners without allowing a hit. Either way, it was probably one of the more improbable no-hitters that we have seen in awhile.
  • June clearly was the month of rookie debuts. Some of the rookies making their season (or career) debuts in June: Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln, and Jose Tabata of the Pirates, Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox, Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, Andrew Oliver of the Tigers, and Felix Doubront of the Red Sox. But there were 3 names that were covered more than any other, and with good reason: Mike Stanton of the Marlins, Carlos Santana of the Indians, and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals. Stanton has been a bit of a mixed bag to this point, hitting .217/.276/.348 with 2 homeruns and 3 stolen bases so far. In any other season, Santana would be the rookie debut most discussed, as he has caught fire and is hitting everything that moves in the American League. To date, Santana is hitting .333/.456/.704 with 8 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 14 runs batted in through 17 games.
  • Clearly though, the story on everyone’s mind all month long has been the debut and subsequent starts of Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg electrified Nationals fans, and the league as a whole after striking out 14 in 7 innings in his debut against the Pirates on June 8th. He’s done nothing but pitch well ever since, and despite a 2-2 record, he now has a 2.27 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts to 7 walks in only 31 2/2 innings pitched. That’s a K/9 rate of 13.6, the highest of any starter so far this season. Having watched the highlights of all his starts, and parts of others as they happened, the kid is legit. With the injury of Jason Heyward toward the end of the month, the NL Rookie of the Year race is wide open and I think Strasburg could very well take it.
  • The hot stove league has heated up slowly so far, with minor trades of Dontrelle Willis and Conor Jackson being the only players of note. But with Cliff Lee likely to be traded, and rumblings of Roy Oswalt being available, it is only a matter of time before there are many more deals to discuss. I plan to do reviews like I did during the offseason of some of the major ones when they happen.
  • The MLB draft was also on June 8th, and the only real surprise of the first round was the fact that Nationals’ top pick Bryce Harper was announced as an outfielder, not a catcher. Clearly, this will make his path to the Majors that much faster, as his bat could be pretty close to Major league ready as it stands now.

What’s Coming in July

I am actually pretty well planned out for the month of July for posts. I went through teams #30 to #15 in my Original Draft Series, where I look at each organization and build a roster based on each player’s original professional franchise. In July, I will continue on with the series, posting about teams #14 through 11 later on in the month. In addition, I will be reviewing the rosters of the All-Star teams after they are announced on Sunday, and critiquing my own choices versus the managers. Also, I will look back on how the prospects I reviewed in the offseason have progressed so far, and how they are stacking up to my own predictions (wild as they may have been).

I will also be starting up the book reviews I had previously mentioned that I had hoped to do. The first book on the list is Fantasyland by Sam Walker. I also picked up a pair of older copies of Baseball America’s Almanac (the 2003 and 2008 editions) at a used book sale last week, and have been looking through some of the information for some post ideas, and found some pretty good ones so far.

Thanks again to all the readers, and if you’re enjoying the writing, please feel free to either write a comment on the posts, and take a few seconds to become a fan of Jason’s Baseball Blog on Facebook. You can do that here.

The Week in Review: May 31-June 6


If the Playoffs Started Today

Texas Rangers (30-26) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (37-20)
New York Yankees (35-22) vs. Minnesota Twins (33-24)

Los Angeles Dodgers (33-24) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (33-24)
Atlanta Braves (33-24) vs. San Diego Padres (33-23)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Justin Morneau (MIN) – .370
Runs – Kevin Youkilis (BOS) – 50
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) – 18
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 52
Stolen Bases – Rajai Davis (OAK) – 23

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 11
Saves – Matt Capps (WAS) – 18
ERA – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – 0.93
Strikeouts – Tim Lincecum (SF) – 89
WHIP – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL – 0.93

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Doug Fister, Oliver Perez, Brett Anderson, Luis Castillo, Derek Holland, Jason Bartlett

Return from the Disabled List: Jon Niese, Kelly Shoppach Scott Hairston, Jorge Posada, Franklin Morales, Jim Edmonds,

To the Minors: Mat Gamel

Up to the Show: Danny Valencia

Trades

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • On Monday, Roy Oswalt was ejected from his start for arguing with the umpire. At least that’s what the reason was anyway. He was yelling at something else (or someone else) on the field, not any of the umpires, and umpire Bill Hohn apparently did not appreciate it. Hohn is looking at some disciplinary action, as it really appeared from the footage that Oswalt really didn’t do anything or say anything that should have earned him that ejection.
  • After being designated for assignment, the Tigers were able to trade struggling starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks for relief pitcher Billy Buckner. It’s kind of sad that his tenure in Detroit ended like this, but Willis has simply not been getting the job done in any shape or form for them. The Tigers also took on quite a bit of Willis’ salary in order to get the trade done.
  • Carlos Zambrano, it was announced, would return to the rotation this week, and ended up making that start on Friday. He went 4 1/3 innings, taking the loss after giving up 3 earned runs. Clearly, this is where he should be pitching, as his contract and skill level both dictate that he is a starting pitcher. Hopefully he will be better in his next start.
  • On Thursday, about 3 hours before their game, Mariners’ outfielder Ken Griffey Jr announced his retirement, effective immediately. I wrote up my thoughts about it here, but the retirement was essentially lost in the shuffle with other events…
  • Also on Thursday, Tigers’ pitcher Armando Galarraga nearly threw a perfect game, if not for a missed call by umpire Jim Joyce. I wrote it up as well, and thankfully now by Sunday the story seems to have died off, and moved forward from it.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez made two starts this week, and his ERA actually went UP to 0.93, and ending his scoreless inning streak at 33 innings.
  • It was announced that Stephen Strasburg will make his major league debut on Tuesday, and it also appears that Marlins top prospect Michael Stanton will also make his major league debut on Tuesday as well.

Scheduled Posts for this Week

Friday will have last week’s trade retro of the Jermaine Dye trade. I am also going to be starting my Original Team series, where I will look at the roster of each team based upon the team that they started to play for initially as a professional in the US. There will be a post up later explaining the series.

The Retirement of Ken Griffey Jr.


Well, I was wondering if this might happen at some point during this season, and indeed it has today. The Mariners released a press release today announcing the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr. after 22 seasons in the Major Leagues.

The Beginning

Griffey was drafted by the Mariners with the #1 overall pick of the 1987 draft, and was able to make his professional debut in the same season. He was only 17 that season, but still hit .313 with 14 HR in 54 games for Short-Season Bellingham. He then went to the California League (Single A) in 1988, hitting .338 with 11 HR in only 58 games before getting moved up to AA Vermont and hitting .279 with 2 HR in 17 games.

He came into Spring training in 1989, and essentially forced the Mariners to put him onto the Major League team with his play. He played in 127 games in 1989, at the young age of 19, and hit .264 with 16 HR, 61 RBI, 61 runs scored, and 16 SB. Clearly he was rapidly going to be a dominant force in the American League for years to come.

The Numbers

Some of the more ridiculous things that stand out from his seasonal numbers:

  • He won a Gold Glove in CF every season from 1990-1999.
  • He hit 45 or more homeruns in a season 5 times (1993, 1994, 1996-1999)
  • Hit hit 40 or more homeruns in a season 7 times (1993-1994, 1996-2000)
  • He drove in 100+ runs batted in a season 8 times (1991-1993, 1996-2000)
  • He scored 100+ runs in a season 6 times (1993, 1996-2000)
  • He posted an OPS over 1.000 in a season 4 times (1993-1994, 1996-1997)
  • He posted an OPS+ over 150 in a season 6 times (1991, 1993-1994, 1996-1998)
  • He hit .300 or better in a season 8 times (1991-1994, 1996-1997, 2005)
  • He led the league in homeruns 4 times, runs 1 time, RBI 1 time, slugging percentage 1 time, and total bases twice
  • He won the 1997 MVP award, and received votes 10 times.
  • He was a 13-time All-Star, including 11 times in a row (1990- 2000).

Looking at some of the advanced statistics he had just makes it all the more ridiculous:

  • He posted a positive WAR in all but 5 of his seasons
  • He posted a WAR of 5 or greater in 8 seasons
  • He posted a WAR of greater than 8 (considered MVP-level) 3 different times.
  • He posted a career WAR of 78.4, which was good for 59th all time. Of the 58 players ahead of him on that list, 8 are not Hall of Famers, and 7 of them are pretty much locks to get in when they are eligible to be inducted.

The Rest of the Story

To me, Griffey always looked like he was out having more fun playing the game than anyone else. And he enjoyed both sides of the game. Some of the other storylines I remember around Griffey:

  • He was able to play in the same outfield with his father with the Mariners in 1990, and both of them actually homered back to back in a game on September 14th, 1990.
  • The playoff run in 1995, led by Griffey,  pretty much helped to save baseball in Seattle, and helped to spawn the construction of Safeco Field.
  • He hit .391/.444/1.043 with 5 HR and 7 RBI in the 5 game ALDS series in 1995.
  • He made an extremely ridiculous catch here in which he broke his wrist on the play. It really seemed to illustrate how he played the game at that point, the flash and skill of it all.
  • He was named to the All-Century baseball team in 1999, in spite of only playing in his 11th season at the time.
  • At the end of the 1999 season (age 29), he had 398 home runs, a .299/.380/.569 split line, 1063 runs scored, 1152 runs batted in, and 167 stolen bases.
  • Griffey requested a trade after the 1999 season to be closer to home in Cincinnati. You can read at the link how I thought that had turned out for all parties involved.
  • He returned to Seattle as a free agent signee after the 2008 season, knowing that he was at best going to be a platoon player, but understanding that he wanted to be in a place where he was well liked and could be comfortable.

I know for me, my first reaction when I heard this news was sadness, as it was always a joy to watch him play the game when he was doing it well. The swing was picture perfect, the speed amazing, and the plays breathtaking. Simply put, he was the best player in baseball for that time, and no one was more feared at the plate or in the field than him. You knew that if there was even a remote shot of him getting to a ball, he would. I look forward to seeing him in Cooperstown in about 6 years from now, as I can’t possibly imagine how he’s not going to go in on the first ballot.

The Week In Review: May 19th – May 23rd


If the Playoffs Started Now

Texas Rangers (25-20) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (32-12)
New York Yankees (26-17) vs. Minnesota (26-18)

Cincinnati Reds (25-19) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (26-17)
St. Louis Cardinals (26-19) vs. San Diego Padres (26-18)

Top Stories of the Week that Was

  • The Hanley Ramirez lack of hustle story appears to have resolved itself, after Ramirez met with his teammates and Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez. I really hope that this is the last time we hear about Hanley Ramirez in a bad light, because the Marlins really want (and need) him to be the face of their franchise when they move into their new stadium in 2012.
  • Trevor Hoffman worked the 8th inning of Sunday’s game for the Brewers, and appears to have been removed from the closer’s role at least in the short term. I really hope that by the end of the season he gets it back together and gets on a roll, as I have to imagine that this is most likely going to be his last season in the Majors. He’s only 4 short of 6o0 career saves, which I have to imagine he would love to achieve before retiring.
  • Milton Bradley returned from the restricted list, and sounds like he may be finally getting the help that he needs. The talent is definitely still there, but the key is that he may finally be in a good spot to get the support he needs. Seattle is full of clubhouse leaders like Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Sweeney, and I have to imagine they are helping a lot.
  • Eric Chavez was put on the disabled list on Saturday to help clear a spot for the returning Mark Ellis. Chavez has been experiencing neck spasms for the majority of the season, and it sounds like this may finally be the injury. Chavez said at the beginning of the season that if he suffered another major injury, he would most likely retire. Well, apparently that may be the case this time. As an A’s fan, the whole thing is really sad to me, as Chavez was so good for the start of his career, but was just completely derailed by injuries for the last 4 seasons.
  • Sunday brought sad news that Jose Lima had died of a heart attack. Lima wasn’t the best pitcher, but he was always one of the most entertaining to be sure. He had a really great season in 1999, when it was always Lima-Time. Sad to hear this.
  • Jimmy Rollins was placed on the disabled list again after reinjuring his leg. I’m wondering at this point if this is going to be a lost season along the lines of what happened to Jose Reyes last year.
  • Nyjer Morgan didn’t have the greatest week ever. On Wednesday, he misplayed a ball which ended up as an inside-the-park homerun. Which would have been bad enough, except that it also happened to him again on Saturday.  Hopefully this week will be better.
  • Brad Penny was having a pretty good game on Friday, when he came up with the bases loaded against Joel Pineiro. He hit a grand slam, and proceeded to not be able to come back out to the mound in the following inning. A back injury has landed him on the disabled list.
  • The injury bug hit some more big name players, as Jorge Posada and Grady Sizemore were both placed on the disabled list. For fantasy purposes, I would think that both of them are droppable in shallower leagues.

I’m working on a new project and am hoping to have posts for it up starting this week sometime.

Trade Retrospective: Ken Griffey Jr


I always find it extremely interesting to see how trades worked out for the teams involved, and what effects the trade had on both teams’ fortunes. I’ll be doing one of these each week, as there have been so many blockbuster trades that happened in recent years.

One of the first blockbuster trades of the 2000s was the requested, and achieved trade of Ken Griffey Jr to the Reds for OF Mike Cameron, SP Brett Tomko, IF Antonio Perez, and P Jake Meyer.

The Background

Griffey requested a trade to Cincinnati so that he could be closer to his home and his family. Griffey had posted 3 consecutive seasons of 45+ home runs and 134+ RBI, and was going to be 30 years old in 2000. Griffey was going to be a free agent after the 2000 season, and the Mariners must have known that they were unlikely to keep Griffey.

The Mariners were coming off of a 79-83 season where they finished in 3rd place, and also knew that young SS Alex Rodriguez would also be a free agent after the 2000 season. The team would most likely have to begin a rebuilding effort based on the rest of the competition in the division, and moving Griffey would help to move that forward.

The Reds had finished 1999 with a 96-67 record, losing a play-in game against the Mets for the Wild Card playoff spot. I imagine that they had to feel that bringing the elite Ken Griffey Jr in would be enough to help put them over the top in their division.

The Moving Pieces

Griffey went to Cincinnati, and almost immediately signed a 9 year, $112.5 million contract extension. The Reds slotted him in to play CF, and were hopeful that he would help to bring them closer to a championship. With 398 career homeruns, it was widely expected that he would be able to compete for the all-time home run record in Cincinnati, and reach that number before the end of the contract.

Mike Cameron was slotted in by the Mariners to replace Griffey in center field. Cameron had been the starting center fielder in Cincinnati, and posted a .256 batting average with 21 HR, 66 RBI and 38 SB. While he wasn’t going to be Griffey in the outfield, he still had the potential to be a very solid center fielder and was also under team control for 4 more seasons.

Brett Tomko was 26 and coming off of a 5-7 season record with 132 strikeouts in 172 innings (33 appearances).

Jake Meyer was a 24 year old minor leaguer who had finished the season with the Reds’ AA team. He had posted a 3.57 ERA with 16 saves between A and AA.

Antonio Perez had been an international signing by the Reds, and was a 19 year old shortstop who had dominated the Midwest League with a .288 batting average, 7 home runs, and 35 stolen bases.

What Happened Next

Ken Griffey had another excellent season, although slightly below his previous levels. He hit .271/.387/.556 with 40 HR, 118 RBI, and 100 runs scored. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to the improvement that they had hoped, and the Reds finished 85-77, 10 games back in the division and out of the playoffs.

The Mariners, almost surprisingly, went in the opposite direction, finishing 91-71 and winning the AL Wild Card. Mike Cameron hit 19 HR and stole 24 bases while playing a solid center field.

The Net Moves

Cincinnati – First Level

  • Cincinnati had Griffey for the 9 seasons of the contract, but it didn’t quite play out the way they had hoped. Griffey spent large portions of the 2001-2007 seasons on the disabled list, and the contract hamstrung the team. The performance surrounding Griffey was poor also, as they never won more than 80 games while Griffey was with the team.
  • At the end of his stint with the Reds, Griffey had hit 210 home runs, but had only averaged 105 games per season there.
  • In 2008, he was traded to the White Sox in the hope that he could compete for a championship. The Reds acquired P Nick Masset and IF Danny Richar for him.

Cincinnati – Second Level

  • Richar spent the remainder of the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Reds, appearing in only 23 games total. He was not brought back for 2010.
  • Masset has spent both the remainder of 2008 and all of 2009 with the Reds. He has posted a 6-1 record with a 2.74 ERA in 95 innings over the two seasons, and remains in the bullpen for the Reds in 2010.

Seattle – First Level

  • Mike Cameron spent the 2000-2003 seasons with the Mariners, averaging 152 games a season, hitting 87 home runs, stealing 106 bases, and posting a .256 batting average. He left via free agency, and no compensation was received.
  • Brett Tomko spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons with the Mariners, posting a 10-6 record overall in 43 appearances (12 starts) and a 4.82 ERA. He was traded in the 2001 offseason, along with C Tom Lampkin and IF Ramon Vazquez to the Padres for C Ben Davis, IF Alex Arias, and P Wascar Serrano.
  • Antonio Perez never played in the Majors for the Mariners, and was traded to the Devil Rays in part of the compensation that the  Mariners received for signing manager Lou Piniella. The Mariners received OF Randy Winn as well.
  • Jake Meyer never made it to the Majors, not with the Mariners or with anyone else. He was traded to the White Sox in 2002 as a part of a trade involving another minor leaguer.

Seattle – Second Level

  • C Ben Davis was included in the trade of SP Freddy Garcia to the White Sox. This trade netted the Mariners C Miguel Olivo, IF Mike Morse, and OF Jeremy Reed. Reed, it was thought, would be able to play CF for the Mariners and help to bring some offense to the lineup as well.
  • P Wascar Serrano and IF Alex Arias had essentially no impact on the Mariners, as neither played in a game for the team. Arias was released, and Serrano did not pitch.
  • OF Randy Winn played for the Mariners for the 2003-2005 seasons, being traded to the Giants at the trading deadline for P Jesse Foppert and C Yorvit Torrealba. Foppert played in AAA for the Mariners, never pitching in the Majors before being released. Torrealba spent the remainder of the 2005 season with the Mariners before being traded to the Rockies for a minor leaguer.

Seattle – Third Level

  • Miguel Olivo was traded to San Diego for a pair of minor leaguers (Nathaniel Mateo and Miguel Ojeda), neither of whom pitched in the Majors.
  • Mike Morse was traded in 2009 to Washington for OF Ryan Langerhans, who played in 38 games for the Mariners, and is currently on the Major League roster.
  • Jeremy Reed never really fulfilled the potential he was thought to possess, playing sporadically from 2004-2008 and posting a .255 batting average with 11 HR and 19 SB over the 4 seasons. He was traded after the 2008 season as a part of the 3 team trade with the Mets and the Indians. The Mariners sent RP J.J. Putz and Sean Green to the Mets, and IF Luis Valbuena to the Indians, and received back from Cleveland OF Franklin Gutierrez, and from New York received IF Mike Carp, OF Endy Chavez, RP Aaron Heilman and Jason Vargas, and prospects Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera.
  • Gutierrez is a fixture in the Mariners outfield, and widely considered to be the top defensive center fielder in all of baseball right now.
  • P Aaron Heilman was traded to the Chicago Cubs for SS Ronny Cedeno and P Garrett Olson without throwing a pitch for the team.
  • During midseason 2009, the Mariners moved SS Ronny Cedeno as a part of the trade that brought SS Jack Wilson and SP Ian Snell to Seattle.

Overall Reactions

This is a trade that overall, I thought would be really good for the Reds at the time. Griffey had shown himself to be an elite outfielder, and well on his way to being the greatest player of all time. Injuries derailed that thought, and the Reds spent a lot of money and unfortunately did not get nearly the production and wins that they had hoped for.

For the Mariners, this trade has eventually worked itself out to some extent. Frankin Gutierrez, Ian Snell, and Jack Wilson are all major players on the current Mariners roster, and the team was able to make the playoffs in 2000 and 2001 with the contributions of the players acquired.

I think that overall, this is one of those trades that had the potential to be really a good one for both teams, and in the end they both got lackluster results overall.

Team Preview – Seattle Mariners


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Adam Moore SP 1 Felix Hernandez
1B Casey Kotchman SP 2 Cliff Lee
2B Jose Lopez SP 3 Ryan Rowland-Smith
3B Chone Figgins SP 4 Ian Snell
SS Jack Wilson SP 5 Garrett Olson
LF Michael Saunders Bullpen
CF Franklin Gutierrez CL David Aardsma
RF Ichiro Suzuki RP Brandon League
DH Milton Bradley RP Mark Lowe
Bench RP Shawn Kelley
IF Ryan Garko RP Jason Vargas
IF Eric Byrnes RP Erik Bedard

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Cliff Lee Trade (PHI) 1B Russell Branyan Free Agency
OF Milton Bradley Trade (CHC) SP Brandon Morrow Trade (TOR)
3B Chone Figgins Free Agency 3B Adrian Beltre Free Agency

Top Prospects: Carlos Triunfel (SS), Michael Pineda (P), Dustin Ackley (OF/2B), Alex Liddi (3B)

2009 Review

The Mariners came into 2009 with a new manager (Don Wakamatsu), and were hopeful that 2009 would be a good season for them. While not expected by many to perform well, the Mariners still finished with a 85-77 record, good for 3rd place in the AL West and 12 games back of the Angels. They also brought Ken Griffey Jr back to the Mariners, partially as a publicity stunt, and partially to help fill the role of a veteran presence.

The pitching staff was led by Cy Young runner-up Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49, 217 strikeouts), Jarrod Washburn (8-6, 2.64), and Ryan Rowland-Smith (5-4, 3.74). On offense, Ichiro (.352, 11 HR, 26 SB) was a standout as usual. The Mariners also had some breakout performances, including 1B Russell Branyan (31 HR, 76 RBI), CF Franklin Gutierrez (.283, 18 HR, 16 SB), and closer David Aardsma (2.52, 38 sv).

Team Outlook for 2010

The team had a very active offseason, and are considered by many to be the most improved team going into 2010. The big acquisition was obviously the trade that brought former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the Northwest. And how they were able to bring Milton Bradley in return for Carlos Silva’s useless contract is beyond comprehension. They’ve added more speed and a top-of-the-order hitter in Chone Figgins, and continued to improve their defense with 1B Casey Kotchman.

I think that the Mariners may only be missing some additional power in their order, although they did bring Griffey back to help provide some power off the bench. Adding Lee will help the Mariners should they make the postseason, and give them a very good 1-2-3 punch with Hernandez and Bedard as well. They should see some development in both rookie C Adam Moore and OF Michael Saunders as well. They have really done well to build a team that is reliant upon defense and pitching, specifically built for Safeco Field.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Ichiro remains a top tier outfielder, although there are some concerns that he may be slowing due to age. I wouldn’t worry too much about him though. Also, King Felix and Cliff Lee are both top-25 starters and will probably not last past the 7th round (in Lee’s case). 3B Chone Figgins should provide a good value, although at 3B he is one of the few players who provides no power and a lot of speed. Deeper leagues, I would say look at Milton Bradley, as he could potentially provide high-upside power, and also Ryan Rowland-Smith as a potential end-draft starter.

Prediction for 2010

The Mariners look like they have improved enough to compete in the division, and will rely on the 1-2 punch of Hernandez and Lee to help finish the job in the season’s final weeks. The AL West is wide open, and I think that the tandem of Hernandez-Lee will be what puts them over the top.

88-74, 1st in the AL West