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.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.