Ichiro in Pinstripes - Yankees Aquire Ichiro Suzuki from Mariners


And with that chant, the Bleacher Creatures shouldn't have any problems welcoming Ichiro Suzuki into Yankee Stadium.  The perennial All-Star and future Hall of Fame right fielder was shockingly and somewhat predictably traded from the Mariners, the only MLB team he has known, to the Yankees today.  In New York, Ichiro will have a chance to play meaningful games in September and have his name mentioned among the many great names in Yankee lore. 

For the Mariners, the decision was surely painful but almost necessary.  Under the new CBA rules, Ichiro would have been a free-agent this offseason and the Mariners would have faced the possibility of getting nothing of value in return.  No compensatory picks... no prospects... nothing. 

Some people thought that Ichiro wasn't interested in playing anywhere else but I actually felt all along that there was a strong possibility he was painfully considering asking for a trade.  I mentioned his name among others in my "MLB On the Block" piece a a month ago and the suggestion was foreign to those outside of Seattle but for fans closer to the situation, the end of the Ichiro era was sort of welcomed. 

News of the trade has been well received by most fans in Seattle (check out Geoff Baker's Mariners Blog for local comments); not because they're thrilled about the prospect of seeing Ichiro in pinstripes but because Mariners fans want the rest of the world to have the opportunity to see Ichiro play on the grand stage and, unfortunately, they knew like most that the Mariners aren't ready to take him there. 

At 38 years old, Ichiro's window of opportunity for winning a World Series has been quickly closing with every sub-.500 season the Mariners have endured.  Yet, Ichiro is one of the greatest hitters that has ever played the game.  His streak of 10 consecutive seasons with 200 hits or more is unmatched and he missed 11 seasons by 16 hits in 2011.  If there is anyone in baseball that deserves the opportunity to play in a World Series, it's Ichiro.

Seattle couldn't offer him that and perhaps more importantly, it's pretty clear that the Mariners would not be offering him arbitration after this season. 

Ichiro is still slapping the ball around but his skills have been on the decline over the past two seasons and offering him arbitration would be paying him for his past performance; offering arbitration would be fiscally irresponsible.

Ichiro is an introvert but there is enough out there to form an opinion on who he is and what he stands for.  I think he's loyal and I think that his trade request was painfully thought over.  At the end of the day, I think that Ichiro probably began to ask the question, "Why should I stay?"  Given the position that the Mariners were in - knowing that they weren't going to be willing to offer Ichiro arbitration - Ichiro probably arrived at the conclusion that he simply couldn't let his loyalty keep him from getting the opportunity play in a World Series. 

It's a good move for all parties involved and it's a good move for baseball.  Regardless of which team "won" this trade, I think there will be a few more West Coast Yankee fans in this postseason.

1 comment:

  1. Ichiro deserves to go out on a winner, that's for sure. Better than spending his last few on a team rebuilding. He's a Hall of famer for sure.


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