Griffey Picks BravesFebruary 17th, 2009 by cstark
There will be no homecoming in Seattle for Ken Griffey Jr. Does that mean Garrett Anderson, formerly of the Angels, signs with the Mariners? That seems to be the logical thing to do.
Here’s a morning report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Griffey:
Griffey picks Braves over Mariners
Negotiations still on-going, both sides working to finalize deal
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Ken Griffey Jr. has chosen to sign with the Braves, according to a person close to the veteran star and familiar with the on-going negotiations. Griffey and Braves general manager Frank Wren met Monday night in Orlando. Wren and Griffey’s agent were scheduled to meet today in an effort to finalize a deal.
The Braves would be adding a 13-time former All-Star who’s one of six players to hit 600 or more home runs.
The 39-year-old erstwhile “Kid” — also known as “Junior” — decided to sign with the Braves over an offer to return to Seattle, where he played his first 11 seasons with the Mariners and was the American League MVP in 1997.
The two teams made similar offers, believed to be in the range of $2 million guaranteed, with incentives tied to staying healthy and getting a lot of plate appearances.
Griffey, who lives in Orlando, is nearly a decade removed from his years as a Gold Glove center fielder — he won 10 of those fielding awards in a row in the ’90s — but is still at least a serviceable outfielder and a formidable hitter against right-handed pitching.
He’s expected to play primarily in left field for the Braves, probably in a platoon role right-handed hitter Matt Diaz, though Griffey could also play against some lefty pitchers.
He could also serve as a backup center fielder for the Braves, who only got 27 home runs from their outfield last season, the lowest total in the majors.
Griffey had offseason knee surgery to repair a problem that plagued him last season, when he hit .249 with 18 homers and 71 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox. Against right-handers, he hit a solid .272 with 14 homers, .372 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage.
Before 2008, Griffey had slugged over .500 against right-handers for 15 consecutive seasons.
Diaz has a .328 career average against lefties, with 18 homers and a robust .869 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 478 at-bats.
Griffey’s dad, Ken Griffey Sr., played left field for the Braves when Tom Glavine made his debut 22 years ago. Now, the son could soon be teammates with Glavine, who’s expected to re-sign with the Braves soon.