Ken Griffey Jr.'s Fallen Star
The Man Who Can't Stay Whole
The Reds thought they were out from under Ken Griffey Jr. and his hefty contract last off-season when they agreed to trade him to the Padres for third baseman Phil Nevin, but Nevin vetoed the deal. After Griffey went down for the season last Thursday with a torn tendon in his right ankle—his sixth major injury in four years with Cincinnati—the Reds faced a sobering thought: Who would want an injury-prone centerfielder who has hit .271 since 2000, will be 34 next season and has five years and $66.5 million left on his contract?
Griffey has not only been unlucky since the Mariners traded him to Cincinnati, but he's also been a diminished player when healthy—for example, hitting only .243 with runners in scoring position. Below are Griffey's average annual stats for his final four seasons with Seattle, beginning when he was 26, compared to those for his four years with the Reds, since he turned 30.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]