As a White Sox fan this bit of MLB news is more interesting to me than anything about Bud Selig’s decisions on the currently stalled World Series or the lopsided Presidential race. The Chicago White Sox will not re-sign Ken Griffey Jr. for the 2009 season and this might have been a “You’re fired,” reply “No I quit.” circumstance.
Griffey’s short stint didn’t leave a lot of memories at the plate but neither did the team as a whole (besides what it took to even make it to the playoffs in the first place). I will always remember that we had him during the 2008 playoff push, and his incredible home plate gun-down in the Minnesota play-in game that helped preserve our 1-0 victory. That was an awesome game. I love Junior Griffey and I wish the first ballot hall of Famer the best.
Losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 wasn’t a major disappointment considering the White Sox ended their season with tough injuries that sidelined Team MVP and Almost AL MVP Carlos Quentin. as well as the playoff perfectionist Jose Contreras. We assuredly could have used Jose Contreras down the stretch when our 4 man rotation was limited to 3 days rest the final weeks of the season.
Word is Contreras’ ruptured 36 year-old achilles tendon will keep him out until the 2009 All-Star break, in which case he would finish the season coming out of the bullpen. That is only early speculation at this point but it is known that Contreras is already working hard to come back as early and healthy as possible.
There is now the starting position opening in CF for the Southside Good Guys and there are a lot of options (in no particular order):
1. Brian Anderson – Brian showed a lot of potential off the bench last year (finally) and was a superb late inning defensive replacement. But the White Sox probably want to find that everyday guy that could possibly be a lead off man in the order. Which Brian is not. I expect the same role out of Brian next year but who knows until after spring training which I believe will be the big question mark entering the 2009 regular season.
2. Nick Swisher – We all know and love Swisher’s presence on the field and in the locker room. Nick had some great power last year but struggled in the batting average department reducing his role to a 7-8-9 guy. He also seemed to be aÂ liabilityÂ covering ground in CF and his arm is not anything to brag about. Swisher Sweet can take this spot with a more efficient bat but he still won’t be a prototypical lead off guy.
3. Jerry Owens – The young speedster and lead off hitter hit hard times in spring training with an injury and couldn’t find a spot on the major league roster until the 40 man call ups. Owens has a lot of upside and has incredible base stealing abilities being really fast and having a high success ratio, 35 for 44 in his short career. With Orlando Cabrera most likely taking a long term deal somewhere else this could be the opening for Jerry to start in CF and be the more efficient lead off hitter for Kenny and Ozzie.
4. Dewayne Wise – Wise was pretty phenomenal late last season and some would argue that this is his job to lose. The career minor leaguer got his shot late 2008 and took full advantage especially in September and the playoffs. Â He may be good trade bait this offseason because I could see the southpaw giving a NL team some much needed experience in a platoon.
5. Bobby Jenks – Hey can’t we double switch this guy in the ninth inning during save opportunities? And I really wanna see the fat boy slide around on his belly in the outfield before I die. I am pretty sure Jenks would throw out EVERY tag up fly ball runner as long as it was hit right to him. The offseason is for dreaming right?
In all seriousness the solution in CF is again within the organization. The four options now are solid and dependent on spring training performance and the direction Ozzie wants his batting order to progress in. Free agency will be used toÂ primarilyÂ to fill needs in the bullpen, a replacement for Orlando Cabrera, and even perhaps Joe Crede’s replacement if the health of his back is still an issue. GO GOOD GUYS!
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[tags]chicago white sox, ken griffey jr., mlb[/tags]