With Junior, Ken Williams Needs to Follow His Head, Not His Heart

Ken Griffey Jr is hinting he'd like to stay in Chicago

Before the 2008 season started, White Sox general manager Ken Williams was taking a lot of heat.  His main goal going into the offseason after 2007 was to bring in a centerfielder, be it Torii Hunter or Aaron Rowand.  He ended up getting neither, and instead settled on some kid we'd never heard of named Carlos Quentin, and a guy who had no business playing in centerfield, Nick Swisher.

Well, for the most part, Kenny Williams came out of 2008 looking like a genius once again, while all the doubters -- including myself -- looked dumb.   Really, the only "mistake" Williams made this season was bringing in Ken Griffey Jr, and when you consider that all he had to give up was Nick Masset and Danny Richar, it wasn't even a bad move.   The Sox gave up basically nothing for a player that would either continue declining, or would explode and help carry the team to a division title.  It was no risk, high reward, the type of deal that general managers love to make.

Well, things didn't work out too well for Griffey in Chicago, as his time here was mostly unproductive at the plate, and a terrifying adventure out in centerfield.   So when the White Sox were knocked out of the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Rays, it was assumed that Junior's days in a White Sox uniform were over.

That could change, and for the sake of the team, I hope it doesn't.   You see, Griffey just had his left knee scoped and his agent, Brian Goldberg, also went on record saying that he wouldn't mind returning to the White Sox next season.   A fear hit me as I read that statement.

You see, the main reason Griffey was brought into Chicago was not because the Sox needed him.  It was because Griffey was Kenny's Holy Grail.  He wanted him back in 2005, but a deal couldn't be worked out, and the Sox went on to win the World Series, pushing Griffey to the backburner.   Then, three years later, Williams had his chance to get him again, and this time he came through.

My worry now is that Williams will convince himself that the reason Griffey struggled so much with the White Sox was his knee, and now that he's had it scoped, he's going to be great again.   It's not going to happen, but when you're blinded by your own love for a player, you can convince yourself otherwise.

Make no mistake about it, Ken Griffey Jr. is the exact opposite of what the White Sox need at the moment.   A team with two big, hit or miss designated hitters -- I'm talking to you, Paulie -- does not need a third.   Even if the White Sox somehow move Konerko in a trade this winter, the DH slot is already taken, and I can't take a full season of Griffey in centerfield.

So please, Kenny, don't get distracted by your love for Junior.   Let him go back to Seattle and let the White Sox move on.  I beg you.

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