News that the Mariners have spoken with Ken Griffey Jr.’s agent has fluttered the hearts of M’s fans who would love nothing more than to have their favorite player back in Seattle.
According to Griffey’s agent, Junior would like that, too, but most of all he wants to prove there’s life (along with a few dozen homers) left in that sweet swing. If it happens next year with the Mariners, great. If not, he’ll be fine with that, too.
Griffey’s agent, Brian Goldberg, said he has spoken with nine teams, six from the American League and three from the National League.
“Junior is very realistic. It isn’t something where Junior expects to be some highly paid free agent in the scheme of things,” Goldberg said. “He understands the situation. He gutted it out last year with a partially torn cartilage and meniscus in his (left) knee. He gutted it out instead of having surgery and missing 6-8 weeks.
“It has been four weeks since surgery, he’s 10 or 12 pounds lighter. He knows he’s not going to be the 56 home-run guy he was, but he also should have no problem returning to what he did a few yeras ago. It was ‘07when he had 30 home runs and 93 RBIs.”
Goldberg said Griffey, who was an all-star center fielder during his time in Seattle, would be willing to accept a role as a designated hitter.
“He’s fine with (being a DH),” Goldberg said. “My thinking is that with him getting his knee fixed so early in the offesason and coming in lighter, he would like to play the field and he’s capable of playing right field, left field, some center and some first base. If the best situation for him is a DH situation, he would not turn his back on that. But he feels like he’s still capable of playing in the field.”
Goldberg also made it clear that the any decision by the Mariners on whether or not to sign Griffey rests solely with Zduriencik. That would dispel any notion that front-office executives above the GM, such as CEO Howard Lincoln or president Chuck Armstrong, would exert influence one way or the other.
“Back when Junior declared free agency, Chuck called just to say, ‘Hi, what are his plans?’ ” Goldberg said. “Then he said, ‘If anything happens with us in the future, it’ll be the GM’s call and nobody over his head willl manadate anything pro or con.”