Ken Griffey Jr.’s time with the Cincinnati Reds didn’t go anywhere near the way the franchise planned. The then superstar center fielder joined the Reds via a trade with the Seattle Mariners in 2000. He quickly signed what was then a monster nine-year, $112.5 million deal with a team option for a 10th year.
After making the MLB All-Star Game 10 of his first 11 seasons with the Seattle Mariners (including 10 straight after his rookie season), Griffey made just three more All-Star Game appearances in his nine seasons in Cincy. He hit 40-plus home runs just once, his first season as a Reds player, after doing so six times in Seattle, including a pair of 56-homer seasons.
The deal was largely a disappointment for both sides, and Cincinnati is still paying for it today.
The current day Reds are terrible. Cincy sits at 42-61, nowhere near a playoff spot, and the team just traded away its few talented players as part of a trade deadline fire sale. The Reds’ payroll is one of the lowest in the league and features only three players making eight figures.
That’s where Griffey comes in.
Because of the size of Griffey’s deal, Cincinnati opted to defer some of the payment well beyond the superstar’s playing career. That means he’s currently receiving $3,593,750 from team for the 2022 season. The 52-year-old has been retired for 12 years.
That salary number makes him one of highest-paid players on the Reds.
After the Reds' trades, their fifth-highest-paid player right now is Ken Griffey Jr.
He last played for the team on July 30, 2008. pic.twitter.com/pJZ2n8Jkrn
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) August 2, 2022
Baseball fans across the league reveled in the fun fact.
— James Brandenburg (@j_brandenburg22) August 2, 2022
How can you not be romantic about baseball? https://t.co/quU53R67Yr
— Mark Kastner (@mkstnr) August 2, 2022
Maybe that time in Cincy wasn’t so bad after all for The Kid.