Griffey asks for trade

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The Independent Online

Ken Griffey Jr, wanting to play closer to his home in Florida, has rejected the Seattle Mariners' eight-year contract offer and the team said on Tuesday it will try to trade the 10-time All-Star outfielder.

Ken Griffey Jr, wanting to play closer to his home in Florida, has rejected the Seattle Mariners' eight-year contract offer and the team said on Tuesday it will try to trade the 10-time All-Star outfielder.

The Mariners presented Griffey a new contract proposal on 17 July - a deal that would start next season. The contract was thought to be worth $135m, which would have made Griffey the highest-paid player in baseball.

"This has been an extremely difficult decision for me," Griffey said in a joint statement he released with the team. "Mariners fans throughout the Pacific Northwest have been very loyal and devoted to me. I will truly miss them."

Griffey hit 48 homers this year after hitting 56 in consecutive seasons. The center fielder, who turns 30 later this month, has 398 career homers and is thought to have the best chance among current players of breaking Hank Aaron's record of 755.

"The Mariners agreed to Ken's request and will seek to trade him during the current offseason," the joint statement said,

Griffey, who has veto power over any deal because he is a 10-year veteran who has played five years with his current team, and his agent, Brian Goldberg, met Monday in Orlando, Florida, with Mariners chairman Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong and new general manager Pat Gillick.

"It strictly has to do with family, time and geography," Goldberg said.

Goldberg did not say where Griffey prefers to play and did not completely rule out Griffey returning to play for Seattle, saying, "You never know."

"The Mariners have done everything humanly possible to keep Ken Griffey Jr. a Seattle Mariner," Lincoln said. "While we are disappointed, we deeply respect Ken's decision to put his family ahead of everything else."

Griffey and Seattle's other star, shortstop Alex Rodriguez, are eligible for free agency after next season.

"We are leaving it up to them to explore what they need to," Goldberg said from his Cincinnati office. "We're confident this is going to work out for everybody."

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