Seattle and Cincinnati agreed Wednesday night to a tentative trade sending the 10-time All-Star to the Reds, a top baseball official told The Associated Press.
Cincinnati has 72 hours to work out a contract extension with Griffey that would make the trade final.
"My understanding is there has been a window requested and it has been granted," said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office. "The 72-hour clock is running."
Alderson would not say what players were involved in the proposed trade.
Under baseball's rules, teams must first agree on the players involved in a trade, then ask the commissioner's office for the 72-hour window. During that time, the acquiring team can attempt to work out a new contract or an extension with the player.
Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg, said earlier this week that his client would take less-than-market value to play for Cincinnati, where he grew up. Griffey, who is eligible for free agency after the season, rejected a $148 million, eight-year extension offered by the Mariners last year.
ESPN reported earlier Wednesday that the Mariners and Reds were working on a three-way deal involving the Anaheim Angels and outfielder Jim Edmonds, but it wasn't clear if the deal presented to baseball Wednesday night included two teams or three.
Griffey, 30, had 398 career home runs in 11 seasons, along with a .299 average and 1,152 RBIs. Hank Aaron, baseball's career home-run leader with 755, thinks Griffey has the best chance to top his record.
Griffey, who will earn $8.25 million this season, the final year of an $34 million, four-year contract, told the Mariners in November that he wanted to be traded to a team closer to his home in Orlando, Fla.
Mariners general manager Pat Gillick held talks with the New York Mets the following month, but Griffey then said he would accept a trade only to Cincinnati.
Reds general manager Jim Bowden cut off negotiations at the winter meetings, saying the Mariners' demands were too steep but talks resumed in recent weeks.
Goldberg said Tuesday the Mariners had given him permission to talk directly with the Reds in an effort to break the impasse. Since there was no deal in place then and no 72-hour window, that appeared to violate baseball's rules.
"Enough occurred for us to look into it," Alderson said.
Alderson said whether any penalties would be issue is something "that still has to be determined."
"I would say this wouldn't take us very long," he added. "Sometime next week at the latest."
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed