A year ago, in the feel-good story of the season, the Seattle Mariners and their fans welcomed Ken Griffey Jr. home in as memorable an interleague series as Safeco Field ever hosted.
Today, the Cincinnati Reds are offering Junior’s services around the majors – and the Mariners have declined deep discussions about any possible trade for the future Hall of Famer.
Simple. The team is on pace to lose close to 100 games and has a payroll of about $118 million. Adding Griffey’s $12.5 salary this season would only increase that payroll – and that’s for a 38-year-old corner outfielder.
Worse, Junior is batting .234 with nine home runs and 34 RBI.
If the Mariners could, say, acquire Junior for Richie Sexson, they’d do the deal. But the Reds are dumping salary, not adding, and have zero interest in the Mariners first baseman.
Bottom line: Griffey has been offered and the Mariners have said ‘No, thanks.’
Down the line, the situation changes. Griffey has a club option for 2009 at $16.5 million and almost certainly will become a free agent. At that point, his interest in coming back to Seattle – and the team’s interest in him – could change.
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