The Griffey Interview

Dave · August 28, 2009 at 8:16 am · Filed Under Mariners 

If you haven’t seen it by now, you should check out this interview Junior did with Trent Rosecrans of – the first part focuses on the Reds and his departure from an organization he’s clearly not much of a fan of, but towards the end, it shifts towards his reunion with the M’s and how he’s felt about this season. The final quote is the most interesting for a Mariner fan:

CTR: How much longer are you going to do this?
KG: I don’t know.

CTR: I mean, you’ve said you feel like you’re starting something. Do you want to stick around to see it out?
KG: Yeah. But, like I said, I’ve never forced myself on anyone. If they tell me they don’t want me anymore, that’s fine. I’ve had a chance to do something I’ve wanted to do, and that’s come back to Seattle. I haven’t wavered on that at all. I’ve gotten a chance to do it and I’m thankful to the organization for giving me a chance to do it. They could have said no. It wasn’t owed to me to come here. It wasn’t owed to me to have Atlanta offer me a contract. They thought enough of me to think I can help the organization and reached out to me – that means a lot.

If you’ve been waiting for Griffey to announce that he’s retiring at the end of the season so that the team can begin a final month goodbye to #24, it’s not going to happen. He wants to play next year, though he seems aware of the fact that the M’s are likely to go another direction at DH next season, and he doesn’t seem like he believes he’s entitled to retire as a Mariner. And that’s a good sign, because while his return to Seattle has been a pretty big success overall, this was always something that should only last one year.

Next year, the M’s will have a legitimate shot at a playoff run, given some strong moves this winter. Griffey isn’t a starting caliber player for a real contender, though – at this point, his skills make him a bench player/coach for any team hoping to make a playoff run. He may still find a team wiling to give him some playing time as a veteran influence, but that he realizes that team may not be the Mariners and is okay with that is nice to hear.

This will probably be Griffey’s last month in Seattle, so if you want to see him play at Safeco, you should make a point to go see him play. But don’t expect a long goodbye tour, because it doesn’t sound like Junior wants to hang them up just yet.


68 Responses to “The Griffey Interview”

  1. Adam B. on August 28th, 2009 4:17 pm

    Wouldn’t his value be higher this year? A club will give much more if they get 2 years with a player like him than if they just get 1 year out of him.

    This is debatable. Felix wasn’t really on the block this year and the Red Sox were willing to give up a decent, if not overwhelming, package. You could argue in either direction, but I would say that the value having Felix for another year and the chance of resigning him before he hits free-agency mitigates the relative loss in his value to another team.

    Also, if a team like the Red Sox were willing to try and guile him off the Mariners this year, even with their relative glut of starting pitching, imagine what they might potentially offer with the Dodgers, Yankees and Mets involved and the possibility of not nearly as concrete a pitching rotation?

    Any players relative value is in a constant state of flux based on their performance, its context within the league, and other teams evaluation of that player.

    Felix’s value could go up or down in the next year or so, but his value is absolute to the Mariners right now, and I would think their front office would see value in having him stay at least another year and attempt to build around him and the chance to see if they can’t keep him beyond that without the competition of free-agency.

  2. terry on August 28th, 2009 4:32 pm

    C Trent is the kind of beat writer that the Seattle market needs.

    He would be like a 3 win upgrade.

  3. mrw88 on August 28th, 2009 4:36 pm

    No matter what the F.O. decides to do with JR it shouldn’t matter. If they bring him back then good, let him keep our clubhouse together and have a occasional pinch hit or something. I don’t understand how you people are so against him and bringing him back. He is a major part of the reason we even have the Mariners to cheer for still. As a kid, he was almost everyone’s hero growing up, I would never turn my back on him. He has done so much for this franchise, who cares if they let him hang around for another year or two.

  4. Pete Livengood on August 28th, 2009 5:06 pm

    mrw88 – All of that is relevant only on an emotional level (and I’d venture to say nearly everybody here shares your fond memories and admiration for Jr.’s contributions to the franchise). The FO’s decision whether to bring Jr. back or not is NOT an emotional decision, it is a rational one. This thread is all about people chiming in on what the FO should do with that rational choice.

    The rational choice is to not bring Jr. back because he has fallen off a cliff in terms of production and capability to play in the field. THAT is why people are against bringing him back, not because of some lack of appreciation for what he has brought to the franchise over the years.

    The only way the emotional response even enters the equation (IMHO) is from a business standpoint. Feel good stuff puts butts in the seats, and team is a business that needs to do that.

  5. Adam B. on August 28th, 2009 5:22 pm

    Emotion does take a prominent role in this.
    This isn’t the stock market, this is baseball.

    Sometimes the choices you make as a baseball team don’t always equate to “The Almighty Win”. This team especially–in the past anyway, has been accused of over-looking wins for something more important “The Almight Dollar”. And while wins and dollars go hand-in-hand, the correlation isn’t 1:1, and sometimes that means pursuing the business choice over the baseball choice.

    Unfortunately for Griffey, his baseball skills may have undermined the reasons for the Mariners to pursue him as a business decision.

    As a business decision it’s a smart move to bring back a beloved sports icon who will put buts in the seats.
    As a baseball decision it makes further sense when that icon can pick up at bats without blocking a more promising player with future potential while not sacrificing too much payroll or hurting the teams over-all outlook in the standings.

    Griffey made all kinds of sense for 2009. Unfortunately 2010 is not 2009. The Mariners landscape has changed, and Griffey will just continue to degenerate from the player he once was.

    Griffey no-longer makes any sense for a team that will have much better free-agent options for their dollar and the onus to contend, and this is were the value of the Mariners winning eclipses the value of Griffey being a Mariner.

    If Griffey wants to come back for league minimum and hang around as a bench bat/AAA filler, fine. The Mariners simply shouldn’t need him in any other respect.

  6. mrw88 on August 28th, 2009 5:30 pm

    I highly doubt playing with 24 players, JR being the 25, will hurt our team. I understand what your saying though, but whose to say he wont rededicate himself to come back ready to play and have a real comeback tour.

    Griffey has put more people in the seats this year alone, and those fans probably already paid for his contract.

  7. gwangung on August 28th, 2009 5:45 pm

    Griffey has put more people in the seats this year alone,

    That’s the heart speaking, not the head…

  8. Jeff Nye on August 28th, 2009 5:46 pm

    There is an opportunity cost associated with every spot on the 25-man roster. If you deliberately choose a less-skilled player for non-baseball reasons, you are not putting the best team you can on the field.

    The Mariners were uniquely positioned this year to give Griffey his curtain call this year without it hugely impacting the on-field product; in 2010, it’s time to move on and give those at-bats to someone who will be a part of the NEXT great Mariners team, not the LAST one.

  9. Breadbaker on August 28th, 2009 6:06 pm

    Jeff’s point is a good one. Griffey as a bench player really takes more than one roster spot, since he can’t run and can’t take the field if you bring him in to pinch hit. Unless he homers and the game ends, you have to replace him at least with one player and perhaps with another (e.g., if he pinch hits for a catcher, you put in a pinch runner and then another catcher). Plus, you almost have to wait to put him in until the manager is out of lefties in the bullpen. That’s a very narrow window of opportunity to play someone when you have only 25 spots on the roster. Tickling only goes so far.

  10. diderot on August 28th, 2009 6:21 pm

    There is an opportunity cost associated with every spot on the 25-man roster.

    This is the heart of the matter, not just next year, but this year. As I’ve said repeatedly, you had a choice: you could try to field the best team you could, or you could give the DH job to Griffey. Not both. They were and are mutually exclusive.

    And as for the way teammates love him for the way he tickles Ichiro, it’s too bad we can’t hear an honest response from people like Clement and Shelton (and probably others), whose meaningful chance to show Seattle what they could do was blocked by Mr. Yesterday.

  11. Hud67 on August 28th, 2009 6:22 pm

    I don’t think it is a matter of Jr. rededicating himself. I think people were making this argument when he came back to Seattle. That his knee would fully heal and he would hit 30 plus home runs. I believe that he has brought unity to the clubhouse. However, the Mariners need a DH with some pop next year.

  12. Hud67 on August 28th, 2009 6:26 pm

    He did call Ichiro a “pimp”. That has to be worth one roster spot this year (2009).

  13. Dash on August 28th, 2009 7:50 pm

    Personally I preferred Griffey’s interview with Gildenstern.

  14. Adam B. on August 28th, 2009 8:12 pm

    I highly doubt playing with 24 players, JR being the 25, will hurt our team. I understand what your saying though, but whose to say he wont rededicate himself to come back ready to play and have a real comeback tour.

    What on Earth gives you the impression that Jr. wasn’t playing to his whole potential this year? There’s nothing about a gimpy, overweight, 40-year old that screams “come back!” to me. Griffey may have been the best hitter in baseball history, but he’s finished. Done. Finito. Fin.

    This is the heart of the matter, not just next year, but this year. As I’ve said repeatedly, you had a choice: you could try to field the best team you could, or you could give the DH job to Griffey. Not both. They were and are mutually exclusive.

    They aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. 2009 was a great time to sign Griffey because this team needed a DH, had limited funds, and all the business intangibles pointed to it. For all intents and purposes, the Mariners fielded the best team they reasonably could be expected to.
    Just don’t get ne started on Mike Sweeney.

    The M’s didn’t have the budget for a Bobby Abreu caliber player last year. This year is different, you have the budget, Griffey and his fans have had their fun, it’s time to move onto a better player.

  15. Pete Livengood on August 29th, 2009 12:02 am

    Adam, I guess I agree with you about most things except:

    ‘Emotion does take a prominent role in this.’

    Really? A prominent role? I get that Griffey’s history here was a tie-breaker between Griff and Garrett Anderson (who seemed as good a bet to hit here as Griffey, and can still field), but that is not a prominent factor in why he was signed. The most “prominent factor” was the lack of financial resources to sign Bobby Abreu, who was clearly the #1 choice. [Thank you Bill Bavasi for the Carlos Silva signing and other significant albatosses).

    I’m just as sentimental as the next guy, and I have enjoyed every minute of Griffey’s sucsesses this year – and he has been better than some “DH’s” we’ve been subjected to in the past few years – but let’s get real: the only reason Griffey was signed this year was a combination of unique fit and “last man standing” for a very reasonable price. None of that will (or should) be true next year. How the organization and fans convey their appreciation for a career’s worth of service to the franchise is a separate question from whether his skills are any fit for next year.

  16. Jake N. on August 29th, 2009 10:15 am

    I for one love Griffey and will never forget what he did here in the NW. But, It is over. That first game against the Twins where hit a homer made me smile for atleast 2 weeks. Good bye Griffey.

  17. Adam B. on August 29th, 2009 12:44 pm

    ‘Emotion does take a prominent role in this.’

    Pete; You’ve basically just reiterated my point.

    I’m not saying the Mariners should’ve taken Griffey over all comers last year, and as I’ve now repeatedly stated I certainly don’t think he should be back next year.

    The fact is that the Mariners could’ve gone in a different direction. Either expanding the pay-roll a bit to get Bobby Abreu (wasn’t going to happen.), take the better performance odds of the younger Garret Anderson, or give Clement or another youngster the at bats.

    In the end they made their decision based on the emotional attachment to Griffey and not much else.

  18. joser on August 29th, 2009 12:59 pm

    In the end they made their decision based on the emotional attachment to Griffey and not much else.

    They made their decision based on the fans’ emotional attachment, which would pay off for them at the cash register, and not much else. I don’t think nostalgia was much of a motivation amongst the owners (if indeed the nudge came from them; it’s possible Zduriencik also saw the pr benefit that would get the new regime off on a good foot and give them some cover to make less-popular moves).

    I’m not saying they were trading off the possible added revenue from a playoff run in ’09 vs vs the certain added revenue from a Griffey homecoming: I think they believed it was possible to get both. After al, there was no certainty any other option whether cheap (Clement) or expensive (Abreu) would’ve made the postseason more likely. But given Griffey vs the alternatives, the thought of all those extra #24 jerseys at the team store tipped the balance. So yeah, it was fan service, but it was hardly fan service “and not much else” — in fact it was in the pursuit of a lot else, namely dollars.

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