CHICAGO -- Ken Griffey Jr.'s $16.5 million option was declined Thursday by the Chicago White Sox, making the No. 5 home run hitter in major league history eligible for free agency.
Griffey is owed a $4 million buyout, which completes a $116.5 million, nine-year contract that he agreed to with the Cincinnati Reds before the 2000 season.
The 38-year old hit a combined .249 with 18 homers and 71 RBIs in 143 games last season for the Reds and the White Sox. Griffey batted .260 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 41 games with the White Sox, who acquired him July 31 in a trade that sent right-hander Nick Masset and infielder Danny Richar to Cincinnati.
Griffey went 2-for-10 in the AL playoffs as the White Sox were beaten in four games by the Tampa Bay Rays.
An Orlando resident, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this month to repair torn meniscus and torn cartilage, a condition that affected his power numbers.
Griffey passed Sammy Sosa for fifth on the home-run list last season and has 611, trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660). Griffey is 18th with 1,772 RBIs.