Despite the best record in the American League, the Chicago White Sox are far from an offensive juggernaut. While some silly sportswriters toss around terms like "smartball," we all know that it's not a good thing when Tadahito Iguchi grounds out to move that runner over to second.
Bunting and moving runners over has resulted in a poor offense, one that ranks below even Tampa Bay in the AL. What about the 118 stolen bases, good for second in the league? The Sox would be better off if they had never attempted a single steal - their success rate is an ugly 68%.
Having traded away a prodigious power hitter this winter in Carlos Lee, the White Sox are in desperate need of a bat. El Caballo's 29 home runs would look mighty fine in the middle of the White Sox lineup.
To atone for his mistake, White Sox GM Kenny Williams is begging the Reds to give him Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey is having a renaissance season, his finest since 2000. Junior stands at .302-33-90 with a month to go. Baseball analysts like to say that Griffey could always hit, he just couldn't stay healthy.
Griffey's contract is a massive albatross for the Reds. He's owed $12.5 million a year through 2008. Cincinnati is no stranger to terrible contracts, with Eric Milton and Sean Casey currently on the roster.
With Griffey clearing waivers and the White Sox volunteering to chip in some extra cash, it would appear that a deal is inevitable. Griffey might throw a wrench in the plan, however. He can veto any trade as a 10 and 5 player. Just today he remarked, "I'm not going to Chicago."
Still, the Reds have not specifically asked Griffey if he'd go to the White Sox. We'd be surprised if he turns down a chance to enter the playoff picture, but then again Griffey is comfortable with the Reds.
What should a fantasy baseball player expect from Griffey if he does end up in a White Sox uniform? A move to the AL can only help, as Griffey would get the chance to DH. Whether his pride would allow it is hard to say. He had a mere six at-bats as a DH in eleven years with Seattle.
If Griffey does play the field, fantasy owners have to expect an injury by mid-2006 at the latest. At drafts and auctions in spring '06, Griffey will be priced like an elite outfielder. But if an injury analyst were to compute an expected games total for Griffey in 2006, the result would not be 140-150 games. 80 games would be a more reasonable estimate.
Griffey is no spring chicken anymore at 35. 80 games of Griffey means 20 HRs and a shaky batting average. Long gone are the 20 steal days. Price him at $10 in your auction leagues and leave the bidding wars to others.
If the White Sox deal falls through, where might Griffey end up this winter? He might accept a deal to either New York team or to San Diego. But the Reds would be well served to deal him now, as his value will go down if he's compared to the 2006 free agent class.
Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Brian Giles are all better options than Griffey. Even Reggie Sanders might be preferred. Plus, the best hitter of all time might be available to an AL West Coast team - Barry Bonds. It might take Jered Weaver and Casey Kotchman to get Bonds to the Angels, but that's fodder for another column.
Tim Dierkes posts daily updates to his fantasy baseball blog as The Roto Authority. Check out the site at:
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