"We're in a tough situation here," says Griffey, whose team improved to 13-20 with Monday's 5-3 win against the Cubs. "We either turn things around or they start getting rid of everybody around here. My situation is different only because I can tell them where I want to go. I want to be in position to win a championship. I'm not strong-arming anybody, but that's the way it is."
The speculation is that Griffey might actually return to the Mariners. Those rumors were fueled in no small way by comments like this:
"I think everybody in Seattle would like to see him retire in a Mariners uniform," Mariners President Chuck Armstrong says. "He was born a Mariner. And I'd like to see him finish up as a Mariner. I can't say much because he is property of the Cincinnati Reds, but he always will have a special place in my heart, and everyone here in Seattle."
At the moment, the Reds are 14-21, and sitting dead-last in the NL Central. On Wednesday, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daugherty wrote the following:
The Reds will not pick up Griffey's $16.5 million option for next year. He's not going to agree to any "hometown discount," either. He already did that, nine years ago. Look what it got him. The Reds will part with Griffey, maybe after the year is up, maybe sooner ... The club will deal Adam Dunn, too, because it can't afford not to. And then the "era," such as it is, will be over.
For fantasy owners, an era ended when Jerry Narron and his random lineup generator were discarded. But whatever.
It does seem likely that at some point this season, perhaps in June, fantasy columnists throughout the land will be frantically analyzing Griffey and/or Dunn trades. If the Mariners were to deal any truly interesting young players for a declining 38-year-old, we'd all
have to assume that Brian Sabean had briefly taken over the team, in which case the Mariners would probably send Carlos Triunfel, Jeff Clement and $17 million to the Reds be more than a little surprised.
It's too early, obviously, to make trade-specific assumptions about the fantasy value of Griffey and Dunn. We can, however, assume that if the Reds continue along their current path and either player is dealt, then Jay Bruce will make his way to Cincinnati -- and that would be a big deal.
Bruce is presently hitting .320/.343/.541 at Triple-A Louisville with five home runs and seven steals. He went 4-for-5 with a double yesterday, and 2-for-4 with a triple the day before. Yes, we've discussed him already, but this is a note we're going to keep playing. Bruce is already in the player pool, he's easily the best hitter with the little red "NA" next to his name, and he's the player most likely to benefit from a Griffey trade, whenever it happens. He'll have a ton of fantasy trade value when he's brought up, too.
Bruce is widely-available (6.3 percent owned). In any format where you have five or more bench spots at your disposal, he's worth stashing on a roster.