A report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated that Ken Griffey Jr. has chosen to forgo a potential reunion with the Seattle Mariners and sign with the Atlanta Braves. An official announcement is expected as early as Wednesday.
Citing a source close to the negotiations, The AJC's David O'Brien and Terrence Moore filed the midday report. Within hours, a report to the contrary surfaced on MLB.com, with Griffey quoted as saying that he has not made a final decision.
Sports Illustrated's John Heyman also published an afternoon report that stated Griffey has been telling friends of his intention to sign with the Braves, who train just 20 minutes from his Orlando home.
Both teams are believed to be offering similar deals, with a base salary in the neighborhood of $2 million and additional performance incentives based on plate appearances.
Griffey, 39, hit .249 with 18 homers and 71 RBI in 143 games last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox. He was hampered by a balky left knee that required offseason surgery in order to have the 13-time All-Star at 100 percent for spring training.
His split numbers have shown that while his ability to effectively hit lefties has diminished somewhat, his success against right handers remains strong. Griffey hit .272 with 14 homers and 48 RBI in 327 at bats against righties last year.
Over the course of his 20-year career, Griffey is a .296 career hitter against right-handed pitching. Last season, Griffey became just the sixth player in baseball history to join the 600 home run club, doing so on June 9, 2008 against the Florida Marlins.
Atlanta has been actively pursuing a veteran bat to help bolster an outfield that combined to hit just 29 home runs last season. Griffey will split time in left field, with the righty swinging Matt Diaz receiving the majority of at bats against left handers.
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