Baseball Notebook

Daily Baseball Blog

Griffey Jr. Hurting Mariners

This 1989 Upper Deck Rookie card of Ken Griffey Jr. was at one time one of the most valuable rookie cards in history but its value has diminished as Griffey Jr. battled injuries and saw his power numbers slide since leaving Seattle and now he could be released by the Mariners at any time.

The Mariners front office is going to have to decide how much longer they can keep Ken Griffey Jr. on their roster since he is hitting only .190 and the team has hit only 20 home runs in 37 games with Griffey not hitting a home run this season.

Griffey recently stated that he is not thinking of retiring but it may not be his choice as the Mariners have to do something to spark their lethargic offense and releasing Griffey is one of those options.

This has nothing to do with him sleeping or not sleeping in the clubhouse which may or may not happened depending on who you are talking to.

Griffey is likely to be released during this season and I questioned why the Mariners would bring back Griffey for another season after he hit .214 last season but to his credit he did hit 19 home runs in 2009.

Griffey was reported to have been asleep when needed for pinch-hitting in a Mariners game but he refutes the charges and is even going through film of that game trying to prove he was in the dugout at that time but nobody has proved he was asleep as of yet.

The episode may even have won a reprieve for Griffey since the Mariners don’t want it to look like they are giving him his unconditional release because of the incident.

Still they can’t wait long before releasing him. Granted he is only one of several Mariners who are not hitting well this season but having only two extra base hits in 27 games tells me it is time for the Mariners to release him because apparently retiring in midseason is not on Griffey’s agenda.

2010 has been a disaster for Griffey with no home runs and six RBI’s after 84 at bats. He is hitting .190 this season and has posted a .258 on base percentage, a .214 slugging percentage and a .472 on base plus slugging percentage. All of his percentage numbers are the lowest of his career.

The Mariners can’t afford to keep Griffey on the roster all season the way the offense is performing. Franklin Gutierrez leads the team in home runs with only four and Casey Kotchman and Mike Sweeney are next with three home runs.

Some examples of other Mariners having bad seasons:

Jose Lopez who hit 25 home runs in 2009 has only one so far in 2010 and is hitting .213.

Milton Bradley is hitting .214 and is out of action while seeing a psychiatrist and is reportedly being paid while gone.

Casey Kotchman has 5 hits in his last 55 at bats and is hitting .190. It was a very questionable move by the front office to acquire Kotchman since he is not a power hitter having hit only 43 home runs total in his first six seasons.

Chone Figgins is hitting .182 with only 24 hits in 37 games after posting 183 hits last season. He definitely is not earning his $8.5 salary.

The Mariners as a team are hitting .231 which is 28th in the majors. They have hit 20 homers for 29th in the majors and that total is a third of the home runs the major league leading Blue Jays have hit with 60.

What I am saying is that the Mariners can’t afford to carry Griffey on their roster the rest of this season. They could call up a minor leaguer who could post better numbers than Griffey.

Surely the Seattle organization has a player in the minors who can hit more than the two doubles (the only extra base hits of the season for Griffey) in 84 at bats and can slug higher than .214.

There is no doubt that Griffey is destined to enter the Hall of Fame in the next five or six years but there is no reason he should still be playing today. He is a shell of the player he was at his best when he could hit and field with anyone.

He has only three hits in his last 27 at bats and is hitting .111 for the month of May.

Griffey needs to retire from baseball as soon as today since he is not helping the Mariners but hurting them by filling a roster spot that could be taken by a better player.

He is not the fielder he was and hasn’t won a Gold Glove since 1999.

Missing 513 games while playing for the Reds prevented Griffey Jr. from compiling some of greatest statistics in the history of baseball. When a player like Griffey misses at least 2,052 at bats figuring four at bats in each of those games which is a conservative estimate he may have hit over 800 home runs by now.

It is sad to see the great ones continue to play after losing their skills but it is time for Griffey to walk away from the game he loves and do like Mike Schmidt and retire in the middle of the season for the good of the Mariners.


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