The Cincinnati Reds have traded future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr to the Chicago White Sox for relief pitcher Nick Masset, minor league infielder Danny Richar and an undisclosed amount of cash.
As with yesterday's trade for Ivan Rodriguez by the Yankees, I am not sure how this improves the Chisox.
However, I can think of two reasons why this deal was consummated.
First, White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams has previous sought out Griffey, Jr. The Chisox nearly acquired Griffey, Jr in July 2005 but the Reds backed out of the deal at the last minute citing financial concerns. This is why Williams made sure the Reds got some cash.
It is worth noting, however, the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005 without any help from Griffey, Jr.
But this brings me to reason number two. Griffey, Jr has never played in a World Series. In fact, he hasn't played in the post season since 1997 when he was a member of the Seattle Mariners. Griffey, Jr had gone to the Reds by the time the Mariners had their greatest successes in 2000 and 2001.
What better way for Griffey, Jr to exit the game than to retire with a World Series ring?
The White Sox are currently in first place in the AL Central Division but hold only a one and a half game lead over the Minnesota Twins.
Griffey, Jr was hitting .245 with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs this season with the Reds. Last night, Griffey, Jr hit his 608th career home run in the Reds 9-5 victory over the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston. His next home run will tie him with Sammy Sosa for 5th on the MLB all time home run list.