Griffey helps White Sox's offense
July, 31, 2008
The trade of Ken Griffey Jr. is almost a straight salary dump for the Reds, and it gives the White Sox an offensive boost while hurting their outfield defense. Griffey's power has been gradually declining for several years now. He's more of a mistake hitter than a true middle-of-the-order bat, and he manages to raise his value through patience and willingness to take a walk. In the outfield, where he's played right field for the past two seasons, he's limited at the best of times. DH might be the best position for him, but in Chicago, that position is filled by Jim Thome. The best lineup move for Chicago now would be to bench first baseman Paul Konerko, who has a .661 OPS. But no matter how the White Sox realign their defense, they'll field a bad defensive outfield unit and, with Griffey in the outfield, more balls to the gaps will become hits. The offensive difference between Griffey and Konerko for the rest of the season is probably just one win, but the addition of Griffey removes a futile bat from the White Sox's potential postseason lineup, so he may provide more of a payoff in October than September. The Reds will receive two fringe players in return. Right-hander Nick Masset has a good arm, as he touches 93 mph with his fastball and uses a high-80s cutter (like all White Sox pitchers), but he has a below-average slider and poor command. His saving grace is his ability to generate ground balls, and he might have better luck as strictly a sinker-cutter guy in short stints. Danny Richar projects as a good utility infielder who can fill in at all three skill positions and put the ball in play. But though he's improved his strength the past two years, he still doesn't hit for enough power to be an everyday second baseman.