Acquiring Ken Griffey, Jr. From the Seattle Mariners
Ken Griffey Jr. didn’t officially become a first-ballot Hall of Famer until a couple years ago, but many would argue he already had that title locked up following the 1999 season. He had appeared in 10 straight All-Star Games, won 10 straight Gold Gloves, and won seven Silver Sluggers.
And just for good measure, he was fresh off his fourth consecutive year of 48-plus homers (leading the league from 1997 to 1999). The Mets were looking for someone to not only pair with Mike Piazza, but to also get them over the hump and into the World Series.
Griffey was looking to leave Seattle, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Each side actually agreed on a deal in principle: New York would receive Griffey, while the Mariners would acquire a package headlined by Octavio Dotel, Armando Benitez, and Roger Cedeno.
As a player with 10-and-5 rights (10 years in the big leagues, five years with his current team), Griffey used his rights to veto that trade. He eventually got traded to where he wanted to play — the Cincinnati Reds — and signed a nine-year, $116.5 million deal that didn’t pan out how anyone hoped because of injuries.
By the way, that’s a deal the Reds are still paying off in deferred payments.