Monday, May 10, 2010

MARINERS: BREAKING: Griffey's final days could be among us

According to reports, Mariner outfielder and local legend Ken Griffey Jr. has approximately one more month with the team he grew into and became a superstar with. Larry LaRue of the News Tribune is reporting that the upcoming road trip with the M’s could be Jr.’s last, stating “If you want to see Griffey in a Seattle uniform again, watch him on television this week. It could be your last chance.”

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In this 2010 season, Griffey is hitting only .208 and has yet to hit a home run as the squad’s designated hitter. Granted, it seems like the whole team is failing to hit above .250, but these numbers are unacceptable for a starting DH, albeit part-time.

LaRue makes an effort to recognize that the Griffey Jr. the M’s brought back in 2009 for a dramatic reunion is nowhere close to the upstanding teammate Jr. has been in the first months of the 2010 season. Reports are stating that Junior was spotted sleeping in the clubhouse during a game last week, in which he should have been available on the bench for a potential late-inning pinch hitter.

Suffice it to say, The Kid has been anything but this season, and should now be called The Sleepy Veteran, or The Tired Uncle, or something. The Mariners essentially have to make one of two decisions with the former face of the franchise, and they must make it delicately.

The easiest option would be to release him, which means the team will still have to honor the $2 million contract he signed in the offseason. Completely cutting ties with the man that single-handedly kept professional baseball in Seattle might not mull-over well with everyone, but unanimous satisfaction is a total impossibility at this point.

Seattle Mariners front office will surely approach Jr. and ask him to retire gracefully, which will be the sweetest ending to a long, loving relationship at this point. The “perfect” ending should have happened last summer, in which teammates carried Griffey and Felix on their shoulders after the final game of the season. It was a beautiful painting, perfectly eclipsing the transition of a franchise from a former superstar (Junior) to the future face of the franchise (Felix). Griffey should’ve retired that very day, and then petitioned for a base-coach position so his presence is still felt in the clubhouse.

Sadly, we’ll have to sit and wait to see how this union will crumble. Given an unforeseen breakthrough in offense from Jr.’s bat (he would need about 13 consecutive home-runs and 25 RBIs at this point), we could be seeing the final days of the greatest player the Mariners have ever graced us with.

Reach Jacob Kehle at