Disgruntled Griffey wants to leave hapless Mariners

May 31, 1994|By Seattle Post-Intelligencer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Vice president Woody Woodward says "Hell will freeze over" before the Seattle Mariners trade Ken Griffey, but manager Lou Piniella welcomes Griffey's comments that not enough of his teammates have the necessary heart to win the division.

"I want out," Griffey told the Tacoma Morning News Tribune on Sunday, after a 9-8 loss in which the Mariners blew a 7-0 lead and lost their fifth game in six decisions. He went on to say he expects a trade before the season is over.

Griffey is signed through 1996 and will make $7 million per season in the final two years of his contract.

"We don't have any plans to trade Griffey," said Woodward, the team's vice president of baseball operations. "Hell will freeze over before we trade him. It sounds to me like a writer taking advantage of him at a very difficult time."

As for Griffey questioning teammates' heart, Woodward said, "Those things will have to be addressed in the clubhouse."

Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg, declined to say last night whether Griffey had directed him to ask Woodward to initiate trade talks.

"I've had some conversations with Woody," Goldberg said. "It wasn't like anybody was making any ultimatums. It was a conversation to see if everybody could get on the same wavelength, more or less."

As for whether the problem would be cleared up by winning, Goldberg said, "A lot of it, yeah."

Before the Mariners played Minnesota yesterday, Piniella said, "Nothing wrong with [the comments], absolutely nothing wrong. The guy is tired of losing."

Asked if he believes Griffey really wants to be traded, Piniella said, "I think Junior wants to win.

"I'm not saying guys here don't want to win, but you've got to go that extra mile. It has to consume you, it has to be the most important thing in your life when you come to the ballpark."

Piniella made it clear he feels some players are lacking commitment and desire.

"What I see as a manager is, we don't have toughness," Piniella said. "I'm glad our top player says that."

Griffey turned down most interview requests yesterday. But one of his best friends on the team, outfielder Jay Buhner, said, "Sometimes the truth hurts. You get tired of seeing the same crap every day, day in and day out. If it [ticks] a few people off, then that's what it takes."

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