Mariners beat reporter Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times expects Ken Griffey Jr. to retire after this season, writing:
Yes, I think this is Griffey’s final month. I think the team hopes so and I do think he is coming to realize it as well, even though, I’m sure, he’s going to miss the day-to-day reality of life in the big leagues. Well, he’ll miss some of it, anyway. He won’t miss what he went through yesterday, having an MRI done on a swollen knee.
Some fans had envisioned Griffey playing the field this year. Well, they were wrong. As the Mariners found out very early, playing Griffey in the field was a recipe for health disaster because his knees couldn’t take it. Now, he’s struggling to even fill the DH role on a daily basis. It’s time.
Griffey has been able to play just 83 innings in the outfield and he’s hit just .221/.329/.399 in 377 plate appearances for a .728 OPS that ranks third-worst among AL first baseman, corner outfielders, and designated hitters ahead of only Aubrey Huff (.703) and Mike Jacobs (.705).
On the other hand, I’d never criticize or mock great players for wanting to stick around after they’re no longer great, and Griffey still has some power with 14 homers and 15 doubles in 321 at-bats. If he wants to play another season as a part-time DH and maybe try to make a run at 650 career homers, then why not?
However, as Baker notes there’s little chance of the Mariners welcoming him back for 2010. Griffey was a good fit this season, as the new regime wanted to clean up the mess of 2008 and create some good will among fans in the process, but the Mariners will be far more focused on contending next season and can easily upgrade the DH spot.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.