Trade Analysis: Ken Griffey Jr.

White Sox get: Ken Griffey, Jr.
Reds get: Nick Masset, Danny Richar

This analysis is going to be biased, and sound bitter, because I’ve been a huge Junior Griffey fan since his first days in the big leagues. So consider yourself warned, and read this with a grain of salt.

The White Sox ability to acquire Griffey for this package absolutely stunned me. Yes, Griffey is not exactly on fire this season. Yes, he had to waive his no-trade option. True, he’s in the last year of his contract, so he’s essentially a rent-a-player. Indeed, he can no longer play centerfield, which is where he’ll be roaming in Chicago.

But he’s still Ken Griffey, Jr.!

Here’s the thing: if the Mariners were insisting on two top prospects for Raul Ibanez, and Griffey was out there for two non-prospects … well, how did we miss that one?

The scoop on the youngsters: Masset is an inconsistent pitcher who was on the 25-man roster only because he was out of options, and the ChiSox thought they might be able to use him for mopup duty. He was a so-so prospect in the minors, and now as a 26-year old has not shown enough at the MLB level to get anyone excited — a 7.09 ERA last year and a 4.63 ERA this year. He’s a slightly younger version of Brian Stokes or Jon Adkins, with about the same upside. Richar, on the other hand, has not had his weaknesses exposed at MLB yet, so the jury is out. But he is far from a prospect at this stage in his career. A good comparable is Ruben Gotay: Richar is below-average in the field, has average speed, a little pop, with his best tool a lefthanded bat. But when your best tool is your bat, and you’re hitting only .260 in AAA, your career is no longer promising — especially as a 25-year-old.

Looking at this trade, I’m jealous. I would love to have sees Griffey and his .245 average come to Shea for, say, Ruddy Lugo and Anderson Hernandez. Call me crazy, but being on the big stage of New York, in the heat of a tight pennant race, might have been just the ticket to boost Griffey’s bat. He wouldn’t have had to be a star, and could have fit very nicely in the sixth spot of the order. The guy still has homerun power, is above-average and a professional in all aspects of the game, and puts forth 100% effort. Don’t give me the excuse that he’s a lefty hitter, and the Mets have too many of those. Would you rather have Raul Ibanez, simply because he hits righthanded? I’ll take my chances with too many lefties. It didn’t hurt the 2006 Mets.

This isn’t a Charlie Williams for Willie Mays trade. Mays should have retired a few years before his embarrassing swan song of ’73. Griffey can still play, and is still feared.

Bottom line: the White Sox get a future first-ballot Hall of Famer who is still a game-changer and has the potential to carry a team. Not only did they give up garbage for him, but the Reds are PAYING the rest of Griffey’s salary. Figure that one out!

Oh, and if he bolts after the season for another team, they get two #1 picks. Not a bad deal.

Next analysis: Manny Ramirez and Jason Bay

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.