The Mariners have hired Ken Griffey Jr.

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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.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.