Bruce Barry's Introduction The Ken Griffey Jr. Negotiation
This case is a journalist's account (published in Sports Illustrated) of negotiations surrounding a professional baseball player in the U.S. named Ken Griffey, Jr. that took place during the winter of 2000. I realize that you may know little or nothing about Griffey or about the sport of baseball or the nature of U.S. major league baseball teams, contracts, and negotiations. This brief introductory note is intended to bring you up to speed on some basic details that will help you sort through the article on the Griffey negotiations. You do not need to be particularly knowledgeable about baseball to understand and analyze what went on, but it does help to know a little bit about the context in which Griffey's contract was up for grabs. So read this document first before you read the case article itself.
Who is Ken Griffey, Jr.? Griffey (also known as "Junior") is generally regarded as one of the premier professional baseball players in the two North American leagues collectively known as "Major League Baseball." Consequently, many other teams covet his talents and would like to get him. For those who care to know the baseball-related details, he is an outfielder who has proven to be both an excellent hitter and a superb fielder over a career of several years. But despite his experience, he is only 30 years old in a game where players can be very successful into (and occasionally beyond) their late 30s.
What was going on at the time of the case? As the negotiations open, Griffey plays for the a team called the Seattle Mariners. His contract with Seattle will end following the 2000 season (which starts in April and ends in October 2000). If Griffey stays in Seattle for the 2000 season and lets his contract run out, he becomes a free agent who can sell his talents and services to any other team in baseball, and the Seattle ballclub gets nothing if Griffey sig