The Junior watch is on
Now that the cat-nap’s out of the bag and a snooze heard ’round the baseball world has reached everywhere but YouTube, what happens next in Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame career is anyone’s guess.
Does he admit that, yes, he was sleeping in the Mariners clubhouse during a game and if so, why?
Does he want to find out who the unnamed teammates were that “ratted” on him?
It is interesting to me that a team that was so close a year ago and clearly had each other’s back is suddenly talking behind someone’s back. That is not a good sign in any clubhouse.
Does he have an exit strategy of his own?
Does he think the organization wants him to leave?
It is clear to anyone that has watched the team this season that Junior is only a shadow of his former self. The tough part is for him and the organization to decide when it’s time to cut the cord and move on. I know Junior would want to go out on his own terms and forcing the issue would only cause him to dig his cleats in even deeper than they are.
I can’t imagine him wanting to stick around for the next130 games performing the way he has the first 30 games. It would do neither him nor the team any good.
How many at-bats does he need to get untracked? Will his production improve if the weather is warmer? Would he improve if practically every hitter around him would produce more hits and runs?
But the immediate future is not just about Junior, although he is now the lightning rod for a team gone sour.
Unless this hitters start scoring runs and team starts winning games with reasonable regularity, there would be wholesale changes to a roster that many expected to challenge for the AL West title.
Left-hander Cliff Lee could be among the first to go. He is in the final year of his contract and nothing has happened yet that would convince me he would want to sign long-term. But there is still time, though time is running out, for things to turn around.
The trade market has yet to develop because it’s still early in the season, but GM Jack Zduriencik already has been trying to lay the groundwork for deals that could become the foundation for future years.
As for Junior, I just hope his bat comes to life enough to where he can finish out this season on a good note and he can ride off into the sunset and start working on his Hall of Fame induction speech.
But getting from here to there could be one of the most-watched developments in franchise history.
— Jim Street