Griffey, Glavine and Geritol

Within this next week, the Braves will likely sign Tom Glavine and continue their pursuit of Ken Griffey Jr.  Then to further show his appreciation for senior citizen Hall of Famers, Frank Wren is going extend Hank Aaron the invitation to come out of retirement to rightfully regain his title as the undisputed home run king.

Imaginary sources have indicated Aaron’s motivation to come out of retirement came last week when he awoke and immediately proclaimed, “If Andruw Jones can get a job, then there must be at least one other team looking for somebody that swings like a 75-year-old man.”

Seriously, all attempts at humor aside, the Braves could complete a successful offseason with the acquisitions of both Glavine and Griffey.  Before beginning their respective Hall of Fame clocks, these two legends still have the potential to be productive and just as importantly, the understanding that their wishes to play in Atlanta will only be granted with small financial guarantees. 

Approaching his 43rd birthday and coming off a surgical procedure that repaired his left elbow and left shoulder, Glavine hasn’t yet had the opportunity to face live hitters and truly prove whether he’s worth the guaranteed $1 million the Braves are willing to offer. 

But he says his arm feels better than it has over the course of the past five years and while this might be a product of his stubborn desire to play, I’m thinking his pride is too great for him to decide to pitch if he thinks there’s even an inkling that he might repeat last year’s frustrating experience.

If there was any inkling that he was going to embarrass himself, Glavine would likely take his 305 career  wins and head into retirement.  The only downside to this would be the fact that he’d once again have to share a stage with Greg Maddux when they would both be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. 

If I had to spend a majority of my career sharing the limelight with Maddux, I certainly might be tempted to play another year.  But enough about my selfish shortcomings and back to Glavine.

With Jorge Campillo, Jo-Jo Reyes, Tommy Hanson, James Parr and Charlie Morton, the Braves have plenty of candidates to serve as their fifth starter.  They don’t exactly need another pitcher.  But even at 43 and coming off surgery, I wouldn’t necessarily consider Glavine to simply be just another pitcher. 

If Glavine is truly healthy and capable of consistently throwing his fastball around 88 mph, his changeup will once again prove effective and provide him the opportunity to prove he can still be better than any of the aforementioned candidates — minus Hanson.

By the end of this season, there are some who believe Hanson might actually be the best candidate to pitch in any role in the Braves organization.  But the Braves don’t want to rush his development and at the same time, they could certainly save some money by delaying his arbitration clock and keeping him in the Minors long enough to ensure he won’t be a Super Two at the conclusion of the 2010 season.

Now taking this one step further, if there are doubts about Glavine, why aren’t there equal ones about Kenshin Kawakami, who is slated to pitch in the fourth spot of the rotation? 

Glavine’s notched 305 wins in this league and he pitched effectively in the three starts that he made while actually healthy last year.  Shouldn’t he be given the same benefit of the doubt as a Japanese hurler, whose only previous association with the Majors came  via the games he’s watched on television and MLB.com? 

Glavine is seeking an incentive-laden contract that could net him $6 million, most of which he’s comfortable to defer over a negotiable length of time.  When it’s said and done, the package will probably be worth closer to $4.5 million and with this gamble the Braves will only be providing a guarantee of $1 million. 

I’m less clear about what Griffey is actually seeking from a financial standpoint.  But I received some indication that the Braves might be able to secure him for $1-2 million.  This year, the veteran outfielder begins drawing some of the deferred funds from the contract he signed with the Reds before the start of the 2000 season. 

While Griffey hasn’t shown that he can still hit Glavine or most other Major League left-handed pitchers, he has hit .291 with a .908 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) against right-handed pitchers over the past four seasons. 

A platoon of Griffey and Matt Diaz in left field sounds a lot better than one that would consist of Brandon Jones and Diaz. 

-  Mark Bowman

 

11 Comments

Mark, while Griffey may be past his prime, he is still a good player. I suspect that unless someone is tossing 97 mph fastballs, he still has enough savvy to connect. What Griffey really brings to the table is his reputation as an outstanding person. What a positive influence he could have on some of the up and coming Braves outfielders like Heyward and Brandon Jones. It would also allow the Braves to reach a large segment of the Atlanta population that has not identified with the ball club for quite some time.

Eilliot, I think Griffey is a perfect fit if you place him in a platoon with Diaz. You also hit on an interesting marketing angle by aluding to the attendence effect Griffey could produce while playing in a city that is heavily populated by African Americans. This is something that I’m sure Braves management has discussed. He would likely be the only African American on the 25-man roster.

I like the addition of Griffey & Glavine. (Though I think that Glavine wishes that he was playing for the Red Sox.) Yes, they are up there in age, but I think they still have something to add to the team.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Hanson, as well as he may have pitched last year, is not MLB-ready. He’s made just 18 starts at AA plus his complement of starts in the AFL. He needs to spend a half season at AA/AAA then pitch for a month or 2 in the bigs, then shut it down so he’ll be geared up to occupy one of the rotation spots right out of camp in 2010.

Pwhjort, I think you’re right. The hype surrounding Hanson has been incredible. But you’ve got to allow him to make a natural progression and starting this season in the Majors would deviate from that path. I think he should make at least 12 starts at Gwinnett. At that time, we’ll all have a better idea about where he needs to be.

SIGN GRIFFREY I have watched and loved seeing him play since he was a rookie yes my attendance with my kids and wife would skyrocket as i have been waiting for this for a long time. Seems like every time he is a FA this talk comes up with the Braves giving his ties with Bobby Cox and the Braves this would be a great fit

PLASE SIGN GRIFFREY!!!!!!!!!

I really like Griffey but I don’t think he is a great fit. He is injury prone to the fullest and isn’t exactly young. He can still produce but I don’t think he could produce enough for the Braves. I would really like to see Nick Swisher or Nady in Atlanta. No matter who the Braves get Francoeur needs to step up for Atlanta to win this season.
http://downonstrikes.blogspot.com/

You’re exactly right about Francoeur and that’s why it could prove disastrous if the Braves have to go to a hearing and bury him with arguments that could certainly shake his mental well being.
As for the outfield mix, I also would prefer getting Nady or Swisher. But it doesn’t seem like the Braves are comfortable to wait to see if the Yankees will deal one of these players and also make the necessary financial concessions.
While committing to Glavine, the Braves seemingly don’t have the funds to cover Swisher’s $5.3 million salary and they certainly don’t have enough money to afford Nady without some assistance from the Yankees.
Of course, if the Yankees are going to pay a portion of the salaries for either of these two players, they’re going to ask for more in return from the Braves, who certainly aren’t going to be comfortable with improving a prospect package for Nady, who could be in Atlanta for just one season.

– Mark Bowman

As much as I appreciate what Ken Griffey Jr. brings to the table, I think signing Jim Edmonds might prove to be a better move at this time. Edmonds is still able to play centerfield and with no certainty that any of the current candidates for that position (Josh Anderson, Gregor Blanco, or Jordan Schafer) can provide the power that the team is seeking, he (Edmonds) would be a good man to have on the team as an insurance policy. In terms of power, remember that Edmonds hit 20 home runs in 340 at-bats last year compared to Griffey’s 18 homers in 490 at-bats. If one of the three aforementioned players does prove adequate in center, he can always platoon with Matt Diaz in left as has been discussed in relationship to Griffey. Edmonds does not have a history of injury and might come cheaper than Griffey. This final point might be important as the team attempts to hammer out an agreement with Tom Glavine and faces the prospect of doing so with limited funds.

Congrats on the impressive debut at No. 18 overall on the MLBlogs Latest Leaders — and without your new blog being active for the whole ranking period! Hope your readers also have started their own free MLBlogs in the biggest baseball blogging community — so they can make the Latest Leaders this season, too.

Mark N/MLB.com
http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/mlblogs.com

Here’s a fun angle. We actually get paid if we don’t sign Swisher or Nady. The Yankees would be well into the luxury tax area with all of that extra salary. Why give them the opportunity to use the kids for minimum. If you live by the sword….With that extra $15 million or so, the Yankees will end upp paying more luxury tax, some to the Braves. Don’t help them out of their buying spree.

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