The Mariners have issued a release announcing that Ken Griffey Jr. has been hired as a special consultant to the club. Griffey “will be involved in numerous areas of the Mariners franchise, including, but not limited to, Major League Baseball Operations, player development, our minor league system marketing, broadcasting and community relations.”
That seems like a lot of responsibilities for a dude who can’t make it through a game without napping.
Don’t look at me like that. You were thinking it too.
More seriously, I would love to see a study of “special assistant” jobs in Major League Baseball. I bet the vast majority of them are kind of do-nothing jobs. Which is totally cool, because it’s more about maintaining the association with greats from the franchise, and it sounds way better than saying “we’re going to just have the old Hall of Famer hanging around at high profile functions.” But I really am curious to see if any of the ex-greats who get special assistant jobs really attack them. Show up at the office, go to meetings, chip in to the coffee fund and all of that.
I bet Jim Thome will someday. Really, if he’s ever a special assistant to the Twins or the White Sox or Indians or wherever I bet he’ll buy a business casual wardrobe and everything. Car pool. The whole bit.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.