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After resolving final contract details, he signed a $2 million, one-year deal Saturday morning. The contract includes plate-appearances and attendance-based bonuses that could push his pay toward $4 million, a nod to the buzz from Arizona to Seattle in the three days since he agreed to return.
The Braves thought Griffey was coming there this week because he wanted to stay close to his family. They did not offer the attendance bonuses. The Mariners threw those in last week, realizing how adding much adding Griffey would galvanize a fan base numbed last year by 101 losses.
Mariners president Chuck Armstrong, the key man who brought Griffey back, said the team lost money for the first time since it moved into palatial Safeco Field in 1999. That didn't hurt in wanting Griffey, either -- though the Mariners' baseball people insist they wanted him because he can still hit and will lead a clubhouse that was a fractured mess last season.
They have already decided Griffey will be in left field when his legs feel fine. When baseball's active leader with 611 home runs says he needs a break, he'll be the DH.
"If he plays, we draw and we win, he ought to get more money," said Armstrong, who befriended Griffey almost from the day Seattle drafted him first overall in 1987. "I hope I write those checks."
Armstrong had been wanting Griffey back since 2000, when he called the slugger two weeks after Seattle traded him to Cincinnati and told him he wanted Griffey retiring as a Mariner. About 10 days ago, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik decided Griffey was the left-handed bat he needed. Armstrong then flew to Pebble Beach, Calif., where Griffey was playing in a golf tournament, for a six-hour push to get Griffey to return.
Last Sunday night, Griffey was at Mariners' camp for a physical and a two-hour meeting with Wakamatsu and Zduriencik. Monday, he met with Braves officials in Orlando.
Tuesday and Wednesday, he studied the schedules of the Mariners and Braves. Then he brought out the summer basketball schedule for his 13-year-old daughter Taryn, the youth-league slate of 6-year-old son Tevin and the high school football schedule for 15-year-old son Trey. He spread all those across the kitchen of his home.
"A couple of my friends thought I was drafting someone, for a first-round pick. It was like a war room. I had stuff everywhere," he said. "It was tough, but I think I made the right decision.
"I said I was going to go back (to Seattle). And I did."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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