Mariners Manager Lou Piniella said he hopes the team will re-sign Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez this offseason. If not, he expects chaos in the clubhouse next year.
His two stars are set to become free agents after the 2000 season, and if they aren't signed, trade rumors are sure to swirl around the clubhouse like they did last season when pitching ace Randy Johnson was in the last year of his contract.
Neither Griffey nor Rodriguez has committed to staying or leaving. Griffey recently said he was tired of losing, and Rodriguez's agent said the shortstop wants to see what the team is going to do to rebuild. The Mariners are on their way to missing the playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons.
"It starts with those two young men," said Piniella, who himself has one year remaining on his contract. "We had that same situation last year with Randy Johnson, and it was disruptive. I hope we get deals done, and it doesn't happen again."
The Mariners decided before the 1998 season that they weren't going to re-sign Johnson. He brooded and was 9-10 with a 4.33 earned run average before he was traded to Houston. Ultimately, he signed with Arizona last winter.
"There was that constant uncertainty," Piniella said. "And Randy didn't handle it particularly well. We were a team in chaos, in a way."
They finished nine games under .500 and 11 1/2 games behind Texas in the American League West. This season hasn't been any better.
S. ALOMAR BACK: The Indians activated C Sandy Alomar from the 60-day disabled list before their game against the Orioles.
Alomar had been sidelined since May 11 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip in his left knee.