Junior knows rebuild is frustrating for Reds, fans

Junior knows rebuild is frustrating for Reds, fans

CINCINNATI -- Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. understands the rebuilding process.

As a member of the Seattle Mariners from 1989-99, Griffey experienced a winning record four times in 11 seasons. After moving on to the Reds for the next 7 1/2 years, Griffey added just one more winning season to his resume. In 2008, a then-38-year-old Griffey was traded for 26-year-old reliever Nick Masset and 25-year-old outfielder Danny Richar.

So even though the process of rebuilding a club has evolved in recent years with advanced scouting and analytics, the former Reds outfielder can relate to what the current team is going through. And he knows it's not fun.

"It is what it is, and some teams need to rebuild," Griffey said. "It just so happens that it happened to be now. Other teams, [like] the Yankees are going to go through it. The Mariners went through it. Every team goes through it."

With the Trade Deadline deal of Jay Bruce, only Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips remain among Griffey's former Reds teammates who are still with the club. Griffey said that he spoke to Bruce before the trade -- Bruce is represented by Griffey's brand, Swingman -- and tried to offer some words of encouragement.

"I talked to Jay a couple times," Griffey said. "Trying to tell him to keep his head up. You could see some of the writing on the wall."

Griffey also said that he understands the frustration of the fans, but asks them to recognize that the players are still trying to do the best they can, and to keep faith in the team and the city.

"For the fans out there, you've just got to believe in the guys that are out there," Griffey said. "They're not out there to mess up. They're doing it for themselves and also the city that they play in. Nobody wants to walk in after a loss and hear anything.

"These guys are professionals, and they're busting their butt. Good, bad or indifferent, they're still trying to do the best job they can."

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.