Griffey spurns Atlanta, signs with Seattle instead:Hot and Latest News
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Griffey spurns Atlanta, signs with Seattle instead

In one of the stranger baseball stories this offseason, Ken Griffey Jr. has decided not to sign with the Braves, instead he’ll head back to Seattle, where he started his career 19 years ago.

Here’s how the story unfolded:

The Journal-Constitution first reported Tuesday that Griffey had told a close friend he would sign with the Braves. Wren said Wednesday that communication with Griffey’s agent, Brian Goldberg, had gone smoothly until after that AJC report, which Goldberg and Griffey said was inaccurate.

Griffey told later Tuesday that he was still torn between the pull of Seattle, where he had spent the first half of his career, and the Braves, where he would be just a one-hour flight from his wife and children in Orlando, and where he would spend spring training just a 20-minute drive from his home.

By noon Wednesday, Braves officials seemed concerned by the silence from Griffey’s camp and said they expected a decision from him by Thursday.

It’s been a week of misdirection plays for Griffey. Even as it was being widely reported last week that he would sign with Seattle, Griffey called Jones and a Braves official to express interest in playing for the Braves.

He hadn’t been one of the Braves’ preferred options for their outfield job entering the offseason, but the free-agent pool had thinned, plus the Braves didn’t have much room left in their payroll and didn’t want to trade top prospects to acquire an outfielder via trade.

Suddenly the Griffey option looked pretty good, and the Braves figured they would pair the left-handed slugger, one of only six players with 600 career homers, in left field with right-handed hitting Matt Diaz.

As the story goes, Griffey was apparently ticked off that the AJC reported that he chose the Braves over Mariners. Whether or not that was Griffey’s official reason for turning around and signing with the Mariners is uncertain, but nevertheless this situation developed oddly.

Several AJC writers are taking a beating because of their original report. Braves fans are claiming the paper ruined the team’s shot of landing Griffey, but in defense of the AJC, stories are printed like this all the time. If Griffey honestly based a decision of this magnitude (i.e. one that involves his family, where he’ll work and where he’ll live for the next year) off of what a newspaper printed, then that’s ridiculous. Did the paper jump the gun? Probably, but it’s their job to report that the news and they reported what they had.

Either way, Griffey is on his way back to Seattle after signing a one-year contract, and the Braves are still in need of a fourth outfielder.


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