Ken Griffey Jr. will play baseball for one more year. The 40-year-old outfielder who's hit more home runs than all but five other Major League'rs just resigned for 2010, says the Mariners' front office.
Is making this man this happy reason enough to re-sign a fading legend?
What's this mean for the team? Well that all depends. Are you a jock? Or are you a nerd?
Forgive the simple labels, but that's essentially what any bar stool argument over baseball has devolved into in the past decade. The game is different than basketball or football. The statistics used in baseball are the most accurate in terms of representing what actually happens on the field.
Which means there's a great big divide that separates two distinct groups of baseball fans: Those who believe in stats and those who believe in that which can't be measured. Is there a middle ground? Absolutely. But the gray tends to wash away when you're talking about a player like Ken Griffey Jr.If you're Larry Stone of the Seattle Times this is great news. We'll put Stone in the "jocks" category because when he made an argument for Griffey's return on Tuesday he didn't talk about on-base percentage or the effectiveness of an outfield platoon. Instead Stone talked about tickling.
I believe Griffey still has something to offer. He can tickle Ichiro, bring laughter to the clubhouse, hit an occasional bomb and take one more crack at October.Stone's argument is roughly the same as most fans: Griffey is fun! He keeps things light! He's a legend! Look at Ichiro giggling. How can we not re-sign him?
Representing the cold, efficient heart of the statistically-minded Mariners fan is Dave Cameron from U.S.S. Mariner. And in case we haven't done a good enough job of telegraphing which side of the fault lines we fall on, we'd like to point out that when making the argument against the Griffey re-signing, Cameron actually points to things that are real and can be, ya know, like, quantified.
Cameron looked at the Mariners roster and found that adding Griffey means subtracting depth in the outfield. Which, if anyone gets hurt, could be a serious setback for the team. (But c'mon. They only play 162 games. What could happen?)
We wouldn't have made this move. That should be obvious by now. It won't destroy the franchise, but it's an inefficient use of resources, and exposes the team to some real problems if Gutierrez gets hurt. The M's just became a little less likely to win in 2010.So there you have it. A final equation that both the jocks and nerds can argue over incessantly for the next 10 months.
If (One season of giggling, ticklish Ichiro = One less win) then (Does Griffey re-signing make the Mariners in 2010 > the Mariners in 2009)?
Remember: Show your work.