Moving Ken Griffey Jr. makes lots of sense for the soon-to-be-rebuilding Reds,
but what can he fetch in return?
Griffey Jr. was first asked to okay a trade last Saturday at Shea Stadium.
After seeing Griffey penciled into the lineup only for the opener of the
day-night doubleheader against the Mets, teammate Adam Dunn, who was down only
for the nightcap, said, "I'll trade you." Griffey rejected the
The two sluggers
will most likely have more substantial swaps to discuss in the coming weeks,
especially if the last-place Reds continue to flounder. New general manager
Walt Jocketty has not begun serious trade talks involving Griffey or Dunn, but
he says, "We'd look at anything to improve the club, whether it be for now
or the future."
and top prospect Jay Bruce ("An absolute stud," one G.M. says) nearly
ready, it's time for a fresh start. A trade of Griffey or Dunn is unlikely to
cause much backlash in Cincinnati. Despite hitting at least 40 homers in each
of the last four seasons, Dunn has been criticized for his .221 career average
with runners in scoring position and his enormous strikeout totals. Griffey,
whom Reds fans had hoped would be more accessible, has missed too many games
due to injury and has not been on a winning team since 2000, his first year in
however, it won't be an easy sell to his fellow general managers. Both Dunn,
28, and Griffey, 38, are off to slow starts and carry high salaries; in
Griffey's case there's the age factor as well. "While Griffey and Dunn may
have some value," says a G.M., "it's only a fraction of what it was. I
doubt they could get a premium prospect for either guy."
"If you need
a guy like Dunn, why not just call [Barry] Bonds?" says another G.M. (Of
course, there are many reasons why Bonds isn't getting calls.)
But another exec
concedes that with offense down throughout the majors, Griffey and Dunn (who'll
be a free agent at year's end) hold appeal as "quick
fixes"—particularly in the AL, in which either player could occasionally
DH. And there is still upside for Griffey, argue some who attribute the
rightfielder's uninspiring start less to age than to anxiety over his pursuit
of his 600th homer. Through Sunday he had 597.
Even if Jocketty
finds suitors—the Mariners and the White Sox could be possibilities for
Griffey, while the Indians and the Padres could be good fits for Dunn—he still
has to persuade his stars to go. Griffey can veto any trade, and Dunn has 10
teams to which he can block a trade. "I am in the driver's seat,"
Griffey told SI. "I have never been approached." His $16.5 million
option for 2009 would complicate any potential deal; to waive his no-trade
clause, it's a good bet that Griffey would demand his new team guarantee that
Griffey created a
mini firestorm when he told USA Today that finishing his career in Seattle
appeals to him. Both he and Dunn, however, have grown tired of the trade
speculation. "I was supposed to be traded every year since 1999," says
Dunn, "when I was going to be traded [to Seattle] for Griffey."
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