I like eulogies — for careers and lives — that are a little on the brutally yet respectfully honest side. Outside of Rob Neyer — who always delivers at times like these — I’m not guessing we’ll get a ton of that when it comes to the Kid, but I can live with it. Here’s what people are saying thus far:
- Rob Neyer: “He was a great player. No question about that. But for many years, he
wasn’t quite the player people thought he was, or was supposed
to be. In retrospect, did Griffey really deserve his spot on the
All-Century Team? Did he really deserve to win 10 Gold Glove Awards? Did
he really save baseball in Seattle? Tomorrow, it will be said
that Griffey was the best player of his era who didn’t use steroids. Was
he really, though? . . . Maybe he wasn’t as good as he could have been. But he was better than
almost everyone else.”
- Lookout Landing: “Ken Griffey Junior is why I am a baseball fan. As kids growing up, we
all have potential. They tell us we are the future. Those of us who were
baseball fans in Seattle in the late 80s and early 90s were also
watching the future unfold before us on the diamond . . . He was out there playing the game and having fun,
doing things adults never thought possible, perhaps just because he
didn’t know it was impossible in the first place.
- U.S.S. Mariner: Did he stick around too long? Yes, of course. But the slide may keep
some fans from remembering just how amazing Griffey was in the mid-90s . . . he made baseball here an absolute joy to watch for many years, and
that’s enough for me.
- Larry Stone, Seattle Times: “[W]e will all remember a player who at his best provided a combination of
youthful exuberance and epic skill that made him a bonafide legend.”
- OMG Reds: “It will probably take a while to sink in, but I’m sure a lot of us feel
that a piece of our childhood is now gone.”
I presume that more big name mainstream columnists will come online later to weigh in. The stuff I hope they stay away from, but which I doubt they will, is the dead-certain view that Ken Griffey Jr. “played clean” or whatever. I hate that narrative.
Why? Partially because we have no way of knowing if it was true. But mostly because it makes him out to be some sort of special case. Griffey was one of the best players ever. Not just one of the best “clean” players ever. Let’s just celebrate him for what he was and is, not as some tool of triangulation steroid politics.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.