|Did The Reds Get What They Paid For Where Griffey Was Concerned?||| Print ||
Written by Adam Adkins (Contact & Archive) on August 04, 2008
Was Ken Griffey Jr's time in Cincinnati worth it?Â Was Griffey worth the 45 million dollars that the Reds shelled out for him over a long, injury-prone and generally productive-but-not-as-productive-as-we-hoped-you'd-be 7 and 1/2 years?
Clearly, Griffey and the Reds had a plan, but I doubt it was that plan.Â In 2000, Griffey was still among the best players in the game, but he was also overrated (yes, he was.)Â He was never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever the best player in the 90s... Barry Bonds was better than Griffey in nearly every measurable way, and you can make a case for someone like Bernie Williams to have been better too.Â Heck, while I'm at it, you can also say Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, and Craig Biggio, just to name a few.Â OBP matters and Griffey was never an OBP machine.Â
However, it seems like Jim Bowden and the Reds thought Griffey to be the final piece they needed to make a run; in 1999, they lost a one-game playoff to get into the postseason.Â However, here's the stinky truth: the pitching they had was consistently in over its head, and once that bit of luck went away, so did the Reds.
In 2000, the Reds didn't do nearly as well (86 wins instead of 96) and missed the postseason.Â Some of that was Eddie Taubensee went back to being Eddie Taubensee.Â Some of that was Sean Casey coming back to earth a bit.Â Some of that was Ron Villone getting hammered (along with Rob Bell).Â Things didn't go to plan.
You know the majority of this story, though.Â After a good year in 2001 (despite injury problems -Â Junior Grif only played in 111 games), the wheels fell off.Â In the next 3 years, Griffey played in 206 games (that's out of a possible 486, in case you were wondering).Â Those years were also his Age 32, 33 and 34 years, or the main beginning of his decline.Â So when Griffey came back healthy--or, at least, fragile--he wasn't the defensive whiz he once was, and some say he never was anyway.
2005 was a good year, yes, but that will probably go down as Griffey's last good year (He WARP'd 5, or was worth 5 wins).Â
2006 wasn't pretty.Â It's really, really, really hard to make a .316 OBP look good.Â Bad defense in right and a slugging percentage of .486 don't fit the bill.Â In 2006, Griffey was a below average player in right field.
2007, same story, but he found some OBP and some Slugging, which made him a decent guy in right, but not a star, and not even good.
2008... well, Kenny Williams acquired a replacement level player and plugged him into a position he has absolutely no business being in.Â Honestly, if the Chi Sox are lucky, he'll get work and undo all of Williams' work.
So, all in all... I'd say the Reds gave up little (the best player dealt to Seattle was Mike Cameron) but they definitely received less than they hoped.