Griffey’s Departure Timeline
For your convenience in arguing
Winter 97: Griffey moves his off-season home and family to Florida
End of the 98 season: Griffey offered 5y, $64m deal starting in 2001
Safeco opens: Griffey offered 8y, $138m starting in 2001
Woody Woodward departs, Griffey displeased
Gillick wants a new deal, Griffey doesn’t want to sign
Gillick & Co go to meet Griffey in Florida, where Griffey asks for a trade so he can be closer to his family
Griffey has trade veto rights as a 10-year veteran who’d played for five years with the same team, and tells the M’s he’ll accept a trade to four teams, all in the NL: the Braves and Mets in the NL East, and the Reds and Houston in the NL Central (all four teams 1st or 2nd in their divisions). All four hold spring training in Florida.
Not a lot of demand, and Griffey okays talks with Pittsburgh and Cleveland, but is not happy that there isn’t a ton of demand.
Howard Lincoln refuses a two-year deal.
The Mets make an offer during the winter meetings. A call goes badly (according to Thiel, Armstrong said he was headed to dinner and wanted a call back quick or the next day, while Griffey’s agent said Armstrong demanded a reply in 15m, which angered Griffey and possibly scuttled the deal). Griffey refuses the trade. It’s also unclear to me if (and if, when) previous Mets offers were made and discussed (and refused) by Griffey.
Griffey declares he’ll accept only a trade to Cincinnati.
Pat Gillick reaches a deal with Jim Bowden after negotiations which add much racor, including public comments by Griffey about potential trades and threats that he’d veto any trade where the Reds gave up so much talent it would affect their chances to contend.
Griffey’s first season as a Red
For a more detailed account, I recommend (as always) Art Thiel’s Out of Left Field, which goes through this in a lot of detail.