There's a real chance that Ken Griffey Jr. helps the White Sox offensively. Forget the .245 batting average he had in Cincinnati. Over the last 25 games, he's closer to .300, with six home runs and 25 RBIs.
"You make a mistake, he's going to hit it a long way," said one National League scout who has seen him play this week.
Here's the problem: To get Griffey in their lineup, and to get Paul Konerko (.214, with nine home runs all year) out of their lineup, Chicago has to play Nick Swisher at first base and Griffey in center field.
"Oh God!" another scout said when told of the White Sox's plans.
"I doubt he can do it," the first scout said. "That's a little bit of a stretch for me."
Griffey was once one of the best center fielders in the game, maybe the best. But he's 38 years old, and he hasn't played center field since 2006. In fact, scouts will tell you that Griffey is a below-average corner outfielder at this stage of his career.
There's a real chance that Griffey will be energized by moving to Chicago, and moving into a pennant race. It never really worked for him in Cincinnati, not the way it was supposed to when he left Seattle to go play in his hometown.
If the Sox could use him as a designated hitter, or even in right field, it would be hard to find any fault with this trade. The Reds are paying most of Griffey's salary, and the two players the White Sox gave up aren't their best prospects.
Griffey basically has to play center field. I'd love to say he can do it, because Griffey has been one of the game's great stars.
I'm just not sure he can.