Is Junior going, going…..?
The reason Ken Griffey Jr., wanted to leave Seattle nine years ago could be the same reason why his much-anticipated return to the Mariners might not happen after all.
He can play for a team closer to his family home in Orlando.
The late-charging Braves could on the verge of spoiling the Mariners’ coming-home bash for Griffey, the most celebrated player in franchise history. Although Junior has expressed a strong desire to return to his MLB roots, turning the Braves down could be difficult. The National League team holds its Spring Training in Orlando and Atlanta is less than an hour away by air, compared to six-plus hours from Seattle.
It is believed that the offers Griffey has received from both organizations are similar, perhaps with a base salary in the $2 million range, plus incentives.
Griffey, who played in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Game golf tournament (his team missed the cut) returned home afterwards to ponder a decision as to where the next stop on his Hall of Fame career will be. His decision could come as early as Sunday, or as late as mid-week.
If he chooses the Braves, look for the Mariners to attempt to sign free agent outfielder Garret Anderson.
The Mariners still need an offensive boost, and although the 36-year-old Anderson wouldn’t match the fans’ warm-and-fuzzy feelings for Griffey, he’s is a quality big-league hitter and familiar with AL West pitching.
And although Mariners fans who have been injected with enthusiasm the past few days, when it appeared Griffey definitely was coming back, signing Anderson could be a good “consolation” prize.
— Jim Street