Spin: Griffey to the White Sox

July, 31, 2008

The White Sox have a deal in place to acquire Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey has accepted the deal; As a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the majors, five with his current team), Griffey had an automatic no-trade clause. The deal now awaits approval from the commissioner's office.

Nick Masset and infielder Danny Richar will go to the Cincinnati Reds in return for Griffey.

It's unclear what role Griffey will play with the White Sox. Chicago is set in its corner outfield slots: Carlos Quentin in left and Jermaine Dye in right. It's possible the team is considering moving Griffey to center field, putting Nick Swisher at first, and sitting the struggling Paul Konerko. But Griffey hasn't played a single game in center this year. With Jim Thome having a strong season (.256, 19 HRs, 59 RBIs), the designated hitter spot wouldn't appear to be open. It's possible there's another deal brewing that would clear up a spot for Griffey, but it's also possible that he'd be switched to first base in Chicago, or that he'd be a part-time player in the Windy City, which could also factor into his decision. The future Hall-of-Famer has stayed healthy this season, playing in 102 games, but he's hitting just .245, although he does have 15 homers and 53 RBIs. Since the All-Star break, he's batting .318; however, on the year, he's only batting .212 against lefties.

Don't rush right out and automatically grab Griffey in fantasy leagues (he's available in more than 20 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues). It's true that this year, U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, has played friendlier to homers than Great American Ballpark, which the Reds call home. But that hasn't always been the case: Last year, for example, the Reds' park was second-friendliest to homers while the White Sox' was fourth-friendliest. There are definite playing-time concerns, considering Griffey has played 90 of his games in right field, and Dye isn't hitting the bench.

As for Cincinnati's haul in this deal, Richar was expected to possibly challenge for playing time at second base for the White Sox this year, but the emergence of Alexei Ramirez made him expendable; he was limited earlier this year by a fractured rib, and while he played nearly two months for the White Sox big club last season, he hasn't sniffed the bigs yet in '08. Masset is a 26-year-old long reliever who could wind up in the Reds rotation eventually, but he's not really much of a fantasy option.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writing Association award winner across all three of those sports.

You can e-mail him here.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?