Griffey's agent says he wasn't told of trade attempts

Updated: August 7, 2003, 8:33 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent says he wasn't informed that the Cincinnati Reds were trying to trade him last month.

After general manager Jim Bowden was fired by the Cincinnati Reds last week, he revealed that he had been talking to the New York Yankees about deal for Griffey.

Agent Brian Goldberg said Bowden didn't tell him about any trade talks. Bowden divulged them while appearing as an analyst on ESPN last week, saying "there were discussions" about Griffey.

Bowden said that if Griffey hadn't sustained a season-ending injury on July 17, he probably would have been dealt to the Yankees.

"A few people told me about what Jim said," Goldberg said. "I don't really have a huge reaction to it. Jim may have had intense discussions, or he may not have. It's hard to react when the end result never took place."

Bowden's comments indicate the Reds haven't given up on trying to trade their most expensive player, who returned to his hometown team in February 2000 on a nine-year, $116.5 million contract.

Chief operating officer John Allen declined to talk about Griffey on Thursday, and Bowden didn't return phone messages. Allen said a few months ago that he wouldn't rule out trading Griffey, who has five years left on his contract.

Griffey, 33, has been hurt each of his four seasons in Cincinnati. He has suffered five major injuries in the last three years, including a dislocated shoulder on April 5 and a torn ankle tendon on July 17 that required season-ending surgery.

The Reds pushed for a nine-year deal when they got him from Seattle in 2000, hoping he would pursue Hank Aaron's home run record in Cincinnati. The injuries have kept him from reaching 500 homers and made it unlikely he will get close to Aaron's mark.

Bowden tried to trade Griffey to San Diego in the offseason, freeing up money for pitching, but Phil Nevin used his no-trade clause to block the deal. Griffey and Goldberg weren't told of those negotiations until after they were reported in the media.

Even if the Reds try to trade Griffey again, he could effectively block any deal by saying he didn't want to play there. There are only a few places he would consider moving.

He has a limited no-trade clause for the next year, but plenty of leverage. Any player traded in the middle of a multiyear contract has the right to demand another trade at the end of the season.

Once he's been with the Reds for five years, he would have the right to block any move. In any case, Goldberg figures the Reds won't be able to trade him without his permission.

"Because Junior did such a bare-bones contract, technically the Reds can shop him to whoever they want," Goldberg said. "However, I would hope that with that many years and that many dollars left on Junior's contract, no team would be foolish enough to make that trade unless they got ... permission to see if the player really wanted to be in their town."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press