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Junior Achievement

Normally, I'm the voice of reason in the face of insanity, the one who wants to get Marlon Anderson as the 2007 version of Shawon Dunston (liked the move, a lot)rather than make a splash with a big move at the trade deadline. I laugh at those who call WFAN and pitch ridiculous possibilities or claim they have secret sources telling them a move is imminent.

But today it seems that I've joined the club. I've done the scouting, having attended three games at Shea Stadium last week, and the necessary reading (of opinions on both MetsBlog and in the New York Times) and scoured the statistical studies. And even after all that, I've come to the same conclusion. I'd like to see the Mets get Ken Griffey Jr.

I base a lot of that on one at-bat from Monday's Braves-Reds game, which I got to watch in significant chunks due to the Mets and Padres being on at a late hour. When I saw Griffey Jr. step to the plate for the first time, a feeling of certainty came over me. I knew that at some point in this game, he was going to hit a home run. Now, I was banking on him doing so in the first inning, and had announced to everyone in my office that a long ball was coming. Turned out I spoke one appearance too soon. In his second time up, Jr. passed Frank Robinson on the all-time home run list with career blast # 587, a no-doubter and an impressive swing for someone of his age.

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't had that kind of feeling about many Mets this year. That was the kind of intuition I had regularly in 2006, but has not presented itself enough this season. I feel, at this point, like I'm much more likely to predict which Met is going to hit into a rally-killing double-play (usually my choice of Shawn Green is a winner) than to do something clutch.

I've become convinced that the Braves are going to make major moves at the deadline and my instincts tell me that they'll be picking from the likes of Msrs. Gagne and Teixeira. The former makes their bullpen significantly better than the Mets and the latter makes an already good lineup that much better than the Mets.

A countermove to get a gamechanger is a necessity if that occurs. And while I'm not going to pitch any packages, you can probably formulate about 6 different combinations of names that it would take to land a player of Griffey's ilk. Then, you can either make Shawn Green a highly-respected pinch-hitter (some teams seem to fear him, for some reason) or palm him off on an AL foe looking for an extra bat.

I remember reading a column from Marty Noble just prior to the start of the season on and the last sentence has stuck with me all year. The story was about how good the Mets offense was supposed to be and that there should be no worries because everyone in the lineup was capable of hitting at a very high rate.

Noble asked simply "What if they don't?"

Turns out that he was on to something. If the Mets continue to perform at the same rate that they have throughout the season, they'll have 51 games in which they score two runs or fewer. Last season, they totalled 38 such games. The offense needs a jolt, one bigger than a coach firing and a DL return. Carloses Delgado and Beltran are either hurt or simply inept and I don't see anything that would make me think they're going to snap out of it for the long term (which in this case is 2 1/2 months). That's what moves like this are for. Think of what the lineup looks like with both Griffey and Alou.

Now granted, if you look at the numbers closely, you'll see that Griffey has struggled in the same manner that the Mets have (with runners in scoring position, and in key spots), but my instinct is that he'd snap out of it in this lineup and on this team.

And consider this. Griffey needs the Mets as much as they need him. The one thing Griffey doesn't do well is walk-off. He has only four career walk-off home runs. Frank Robinson, whom Griffey just passed on the all-time home run list, had 12. tells us that, minus his rookie season, Robinson won 27 games via walk-off in his career. Griffey has only six.

But what better place to come than the best walk-off team in baseball to catch up?

True Metfeys know...Both Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Sr. (not Jr.) have hit walk-off home runs against the Mets.


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