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The Man Who Can't Stay Whole Ken Griffey Jr.'s Fallen Star

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.

26-29 155 52 142 .294
30-33 95 21 58 .271

--Tom Verducci