Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. joins Mariners ownership group

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is investing in the Seattle Mariners in a way he never has before.

He’ll be part of the ownership going forward.

The Mariners announced that their most famous former player has also become the first one to purchase a stake in the ballclub.

“On behalf of all of the partners, I want to welcome Ken,” Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a statement. “Ken has been an icon of our franchise, on and off the field, for over three decades and we are thrilled that he is joining us as a partner. His knowledge of the game, love of the Mariner fans, his experiences as a player, his passion for community service and his desire to help grow our sport will be a welcome, and invaluable, additional voice.”

Griffey was the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft by the Mariners in 1987. Less than two years later, he made his major league debut and quickly grew into one of the best players of his generation with that familiar “S” on his hat – whether it was turned forward or backward.

Griffey spent his first 11 seasons with the Mariners, helping them to a pair of AL West titles and was the 1997 AL MVP. He engineered a trade to Cincinnati following the 1999 season but made his way back to Seattle for the conclusion of his career in 2009 and part of the 2010 season before retiring at age 40.

The return to Seattle rekindled his relationship with the franchise. He’s become an ambassador for the team in various settings with an official title of special consultant to the franchise. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Griffey was also named a senior adviser to Commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this year.

“As I said in my Hall of Fame speech, I’m very proud to be a Seattle Mariner,” Griffey said. “I’m excited for this incredible opportunity to join John and the rest of the Mariners Partnership Group. This is a dream come true because of the relationship I’ve always had with the team, its fans, and the city of Seattle. I view this as another way to continue to give back to an organization and community that has always supported me, and my family. I’m looking forward to continuing to contribute to this organization’s success in any way possible.”

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.