I said last night that I'd likely end up penning a mea culpa in apology of my earlier write-up of the Griffey trade. Well, reading it again, I still like what I wrote. In the comments at the time (though annoyingly not in the post), I said there should be about a two week cushion at which point we could expect Griffey's routine to have more or less become clear. To quote myself:
If any of the parties in question care about winning more than they care about anything else, Griffey will end up where he should.
What that implies, I hope, is that merely watching him play should make it obvious what he can and cannot do and that through the simple mechanism of trial and error, his proper place on the team would be found. Having seen what happened last night on a couple critical plays in center that in the very least changed the course of the game, I have to suspect that these are the kinds of plays that everyone on the team noticed, Ozzie, Kenny, and Junior included. In the original post, it's fairly clear that I expected that it was Junior's ego that was the largest factor in play here. What I've seen so far puts the matter in the hands of the bosses. Whether it's Kenny's ego or Ozzie's mad whims that are on the hook, the fact is The Kid can't play center.
On the other hand, Kenny has been criticized by certain factions of the SSS faithful for having failed to find pitching help. With Jose Contreras done for the year, a fifth starter certainly fits the bill. But to my knowledge, there were all of two seeming possibilities: Paul Byrd and Jarrod Washburn. The former was nabbed by the Red Sox and was likely never a possibility to begin with. It is extremely doubtful the Indians would be willing to help the White Sox get back to the playoffs. Mr. Washburn pitches for the Seattle Mariners, perhaps the most dysfunctionally managed club in all of Major League Baseball. Getting him for less than Aaron Poreda and the Additional Pieces also appears doubtful. Considering the cost and the available "talent," it looks to me like Kenny's shrewd judgment in the trade market is paying off again.
All that's left now is to bicker about a bullpen. From highest leverage usage to lowest:
- Bobby Jenks
- Octavio Dotel
- Matt Thornton
- Horacio Ramirez
- Adam Russell
- Lance Broadway
The top 3 + LOOGY looks fine to me. It would obviously be preferable to have Scott Linebrink back, but there's 4 arms available for games where we're ahead or tied and 2 for games that we're trying to finish out with minimal damage to pitchers that matter. The competence of each group seems certain to me. We'll be able to rapidly add an arm since it appears that Dwayne Wise is readily disposable at this point. The only problem is that we can't add anyone better than Scott Linebrink either internally or externally. The same is true with Contreras. The annoying fact of baseball is dealing with the unexpected. Shoulder soreness, ruptured achilles, or a bunch of tiny fish with sharp pointy teeth that just will not go the hell away. But hey, who thought we'd be here in the first place?