Ken Griffey Jr. – Who Retired In 2010 Is The Fourth Highest-Paid Player On The Reds This Season

In late 1999, Ken Griffey Jr. requested a trade from the Seattle Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds. He wanted to be closer to his family and raise his kids in his hometown of Cincinnati. The Mariners and Reds made the trade happen in February 2000, and Cincinnati promptly handed Griffey a nine-year, $112.5 million deal.

Griffey stayed in Cincinnati for most of the deal; the Reds eventually traded him to the Chicago White Sox in 2008. The outfielder found his way back to Seattle the following year, retiring in 2010 when he was 40 years old.

Griffey is now 53 years old — and the Reds are still paying him. That’s thanks to that contract he signed back in 2000, which included $57.5 million in deferred salary plus four percent interest. The Reds have paid Griffey every year since 2009 and will continue to do so through 2024.

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This season, Griffey will make $3.59 million. That makes him the fourth-highest-paid player on the Reds, even though he hasn’t played for the team in 15 years or in the major leagues for 13 seasons.

What’s even crazier is that the Reds’ second-highest-paid player also is no longer on the team. Cincinnati released Mike Moustakas in January, and the third baseman quickly joined the Rockies. But he still has $22 million left on his deal, making him a deferred contract. Moustakas signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Reds in 2019, which was the largest free agent deal in Reds’ history.

The highest-paid player on the Reds? Well, he’s still on the team, at least. First baseman Joey Votto will make $25 million this year and have more opportunities to make young fans smile after getting angry during a game.

Cincinnati also added Wil Myers to a one-year, $6 million deal. Myers may very well only be on the Reds for this season, but he’ll still be the second-highest-paid active player and third-highest-paid player on the payroll.

Perhaps the worst part of Griffey’s deal? The Reds never made the playoffs while he was on the team.

At least next year, the franchise can finally put this expensive financial lesson behind them.

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