It's late, but Junior's heating up

August, 25, 2009
8/25/09
5:31
PM ET
David Pinto makes a couple of good points about Junior:
    Ken Griffey, Jr. hit home run number 14 Monday night, part of a two-hit, two RBI night that led to a 3-1 Seattle victory over the Athletics. Griffey provided little offense this season, and given the Mariners competitiveness this season, a DH who could actually hit might have put them much closer to the playoff race.

    Griffey, however, is finishing strong. So far in August he's posting a .371 OBA and a .519 slugging percentage. He's hit four home runs and drove in 13 runs, the RBI a one-month high for him this season. In what may be his last season, Junior is at least going out on a high note.

Earlier in the season, I ripped the Mariners pretty good for giving so many plate appearances to Griffey, who batted just .222/.342/.404 (and has done even worse since, despite his fine August). But what if they'd given all those plate appearances to one of the many sluggers who have spent most (or all) of this summer toiling away in the Pacific Coast League?

Sure, they might be a few games closer to sort of contending for something. But if they'd been closer a month ago, they might not have traded Jarrod Washburn for a couple of legitimate prospects. Also, if they'd consigned Griffey to the bench back in May or June, they presumably wouldn't have sold quite as many tickets as they have. And finally, if they'd replaced Griffey with Mike Carp (or whoever) earlier this summer, they might have started an arbitration/free-agency clock earlier than otherwise.

Whether for the right reasons or the wrong reasons, the decision to blow 372 plate appearances (so far) on an aging-if-popular slugger seems to have worked out quite nicely for the organization. Now, if they bring him back next year ...

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