In an absolutely shocking move this evening Ken Griffey Jr decided to leave the Atlanta Braves waiting at the altar and sign with the Seattle Mariners. This is an amazing turn around as it was widely believed that a deal between the Kid and the Braves was imminent. David O’Brien at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution even went as far as to say that Griffey had decided to play for the Braves. As today progressed thou the stories started to change and it was looking more and more likely that Griffey wouldn’t be playing in Atlanta this year. So how did he wind up with the Mariners? What’s the contract?
There’s a couple different rumors going around on why he changed his mind. One would be his history in Seattle. Mark Bowman at MLB.com suggests the relationship with Seattle and its fans could of played a role. He suggests that relationship was so strong he doesn’t want to offend the fans after the two sides were so close to a deal.
“He has an emotional tie to Seattle and with the club that he came up with originally,” Atlanta GM Frank Wren said while alluding to the fact that Griffey spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Mariners. “I’m sure that’s a strong deciding factor as well.”
The other rumor is the fore mentioned article by O’Brien. Jim Street also of MLB.com says that the Braves and Griffey talks were moving at a very good pace till late this afternoon. What happened? Griffey found out about the report in the AJC saying he had decided to play for the Atlanta Braves. After that the talks fell apart so fast that the two sides weren’t even talking. A little while later Griffey decided to take the offer from Seattle.
To me this just all sounds pretty strange. It’s fairly typical for the media to report that a player has decided to play for a team before he announces it. So why is Griffey soooooo offended? Does it mean that he was going to take the Braves offer but deep down really didn’t want to? Was he looking for any excuse to back out and just say no? I don’t really know. Maybe he was just that offended by the report, who knows. It’s just all really strange.
In a way thou I’m glad it happened. Seattle is where he belonged and really should of never left. His contract is pretty good too, one-year deal worth $2 million plus incentives. And the Mariners are expecting an extra 200,000 or so fans with him on board. Pretty reasonable expectation in my book.
Ken Griffey Jr has always been one of my favorite baseball players. I’ve still got numerous rookie cards of him from 1989 and when I come across more I just have to buy them. For his career to come full circle and end in Seattle is only fitting. I’m glad he’s home again, and you know what? That Griffey Jr batting practice jersey from his Seattle days will be coming out again. It’s still tucked away in the back of my closet.
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