Let me explain. I'm an Adam Dunn fan. I'm a Ken Griffey Jr. fan. AND I'm a Cincinnati Reds fan. So my headline probably doesn't make much sense, does it? The sad truth though is that the headline is entirely true.
Adam Dunn is hitting about .220 right now. But, he still leads the team in OBP, and his strikeouts this season are significantly down. Dunn is one of the best players on the Reds, even while slumping. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see him get his average to about .260, but he's not the only reason the Reds are losing right now.
Griffey, well ... he's Griffey. He's a legend, especially in Cincinnati where he grew up. When he's healthy, he's going to hit 30 home runs and have 100 RBIs. He's slumping a bit right now also, hitting around .235, but he's going to end the season around .265, so he's still productive. The question then becomes, why get rid of the two biggest bats in Cincinnati?
It's all about the money. The Reds have a club option on Griffey next season for $16 million. Dunn will be a free agent at the end of the year, and most accounts have him earning around $13 million a year on the market. How can the Reds justify spending about $30 million dollars next season on these two players? They can't. Griffey is at the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, and he's not going into Cooperstown as a Red. He'll always be a Mariner, so there isn't room to pay Griffey $16 million for sentimentality. Dunn is a one-tool player. He can hit for power. He can't run and doesn't play great defense. His arm is average and he can't hit for average. The Reds need that $30 million to invest in their future.
Next year, the Reds will pay Jay Bruce $400,000 a year to replace Griffey in right field. Ryan Freel, Norris Hopper, and Joey Votto have all had experience in left field. Any one of them could replace Dunn and be a defensive upgrade. Sure, you're going to lose some of Dunn's home runs, but can't we use that $30 million to upgrade our pitching? Maybe add another quality bat to the lineup? $30 million can buy quite a bit of production these days.
The 2008 Reds currently aren't in contention to make the playoffs. Unless they capture lightning in a bottle from their young pitching staff, it's likely they aren't going to reach the playoffs. Can the Reds really afford to let Griffey and Dunn go without getting anything in return?
Griffey is a Mariner for life. Seattle loves him. Ticket sales would skyrocket if he went back to the great Northwest. More importantly, Griffey loves Seattle. Because he has a no trade clause, he can veto any potential move. But he'd go back to Seattle, no question. Let's send Griffey back to Seattle for a prospect, maybe two. Heck, let's send Griffey back to Seattle simply to let them take the remainder of his contract this season. That would put about $10 million back in the Reds pocket, and maybe they can use that, with the $30 million from next season and invest in a few big time players.
As for Dunn, he's an American League player. Let's send him to a contender and get a couple prospects in return. Let's look to next year. In Cincinnati, next year is what we're always looking toward as a fan. Maybe this time next year will come true.