Mariners still talking to Griffey
Decision on possible Seattle return could come next week
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dialogue between the Mariners and Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent continued Friday, but there is still no agreement on a one-year contract that would bring Griffey back to Seattle.
"I am still talking to the Mariners," agent Brian Goldberg said Friday afternoon, "and I'm keeping the information to a minimum with Junior while he's playing in the Pro-Am tournament."Griffey played the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tourney in Monterey, Calif., on Friday and is assured of playing again Saturday. After Thursday's opening round, Griffey told The Associated Press, "We don't know what we're doing next year with respect to Seattle. It's all rumors. I really don't even know. My agent is handling it." Whenever the parameters of a deal are accepted by both parties, Griffey would make the final decision. That could happen -- one way or another -- sometime next week. Bringing Griffey back to the organization that he started his Hall of Fame career with in 1989 would be especially big news in the Northwest. He is still revered in the Seattle area and could become a story practically every day. Russell Branyan, Griffey's former teammate with the Reds, indicated to The Associated Press that he feels the two players could reunite in Seattle.
"He told me he'd love to come back here. ... I asked him if we were going to be teammates again. He seemed very open to it," Branyan said.
Manager Don Wakamatsu was asked during his post-physical media session Friday whether he thought Griffey might become a clubhouse distraction because of all the media attention he would get."When you talk about the environment of the clubhouse, that's my responsibility," he said. "It's the staff's responsibility to create that environment and make it a positive one." Wakamatsu added that the player personnel decisions are up to general manager Jack Zduriencik. "I told Jack that I support him in every move he makes," the manager said. "We'll try to do the best we can with whatever talent he gives us." Wakamatsu said he doesn't know Griffey at all, having met him only once. "The first time I saw him [in person] was two years ago behind a batting cage," he said. "We talked for about two minutes. I respect him as a player, always did. He's one of the greatest of all time, especially his time in Seattle. "The talk at that time was who was better, him or Barry [Bonds]."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.