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.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.