Outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame at Safeco Field this evening, an event which preceded the team’s game against the Brewers. Griffey, often known as “Junior”, spent 13 of his 22 years in the Majors with the Mariners, hitting 417 of his 630 career home runs and helping usher in an era of prosperity, something not previously seen by the Mariners franchise dating back to 1977.
Griffey had a number of unforgettable moments in his career, from milestone home runs to great catches, but perhaps none more memorable than when he scored the winning run in the 11th inning of Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series against the Yankees. Though the Mariners were knocked out of the playoffs in the ALCS against the Indians, the Mariners would reach the post-season again in 1997, when they lost the ALDS in four games to the Orioles.
As Griffey approached free agency, the Mariners made a very tough decision and opted to trade him to the Reds in February 2000. The trade brought in their center fielder of the future in Mike Cameron, who helped the Mariners set a Major League record with 116 wins in 2001. Cameron, however, could never fill the rather large shoes vacated by Griffey.
Had injuries not interfered with his career, Griffey almost certainly would have joined the 700 home run club along with Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth. Nevertheless, he retired as one of the best players not only of his generation but of all-time.
Congratulations to Junior for his induction into the Mariners Hall of Fame.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.