Monday, July 26, 2010

Should the Mariners trade Ichiro?

By Kshell

This is a tough subject for me to talk about because I'm a staunch Ichiro supporter. When he was being bashed for being "selfish" my reply was "Yes he's selfishly gets 200 hits a year". Ichiro however is getting up there in age and with the Mariners putting an emphasis on a youth movement the question needs to be asked what to do with Ichiro?

Ichiro is going to be 37 years old this October. For comparison look how washed up Ken Griffey JR looked this season, he was 41 years old. Ichiro is still a great leadoff hitter having had 200+ hits in every season in the bigs and is on pace this year for his 10th straight season of 200+ hits. He is still a gold glove right outfielder with great range and an excellent arm. He steals bases having 23 on the season which is on pace for 38 at the end of the year. Given Ichiro's current ability he still has plenty to offer another franchise. The Mariners most likely would have to eat some of his salary as no team would take on that 18 million a season. If the Mariners trade Ichiro they could get themselves a great package of prospects back(you liked the Cliff Lee trade? This would be greater).

The Mariners next year will giving such young guys Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, Adam Moore regular playing time which means the future is bright but also means 2011 is going to be a rebuilding year. The Mariners are looking at 2012 to legitmately be a playoff team and by then Ichiro will be 38 years old going on 39 years old. If the Mariners trade Ichiro they could get back another 4 prospects including a super awsome prospect(like a Smoak) to build around. The Mariners would have money to spend on other such free agents while getting younger in the process.

This is hard for me to write about trading Ichiro because he has done so much for this franchise. He is a 10 time All-star(Tied Griffey's franchise record this season), led the AL in hits 6 times in his 9 season, led the AL in batting average twice and won the franchises 2nd MVP award. Ichiro will be in the HOF wearing a Mariners hat and will hopefully have his #51 retired(possibly retire his #51 same day as Randy Johnson's #51 much like the Blazers did with #30). Had baseball not been so blind to the ability of Japanese born players he could be chasing Pete Roses record as he already has over 2,100 hits in his career.

For how great Ichiro has been he has been wasted in Seattle. In 2004 he scored just 101 runs despite having 262 hits that year. Ichiro has only made the Playoffs just once in his career and that was his rookie season and after his 3rd year in the Major Leagues he has only experienced two winning seasons and has been on 4 teams that have lost 90+ games(I'm counting this year). At what point do the Mariners owe it to Ichiro to trade him to a contender? Its going to be a sad day if the Mariners management decides to trade Ichiro. He has done alot for this franchise and been very successful unfortunetly the Mariners uppermanagement hasn't surrounded him with a team at all.

Trading Ichiro would be a win-win for both parties. The Mariners would get some cash relief(Like I said they'd probably have to eat a chunk of his salary) plus get some nice young prospects to grow with Ackley, Saunders, Smoak,Felix and Pineda. Ichiro would finally get a chance to showcase his talents on the national stage in October where he excelled in his first and only playoff in 2001.

Will the Mariners do the right thing and trade Ichiro? Most likely not because Mariners and "right thing" don't go together ever. For the time being appreciate Ichiro for what he is and hope the Mariners do him and the team a favor by trading him.

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