Stay? Go? You Decide?
The 2011 season has been a disappointment for the Seattle Mariners 10 year veteran presence in right field. His stats are the lowest they have ever been in nearly every category.
That being said, Ichiro is batting .273 for the season with 175 hits, 40 stolen bases and an OPS of .649. With his glove Ichiro has a .985 fielding percentage with only 4 errors on the year, plus a career high 5 double plays. This past week Ichiro surpassed Micky Mantle in the all-time hits list.
In the worst season of his life he would still be ranked in the top 100 active players in baseball.
If this were a prospect the Mariners would be falling all over themselves trying to sign him. However… he is not a prospect making league minimum.
He is a 37 year old athlete that is pulling in 18 Million dollars for 2011.
His contract is up for extension at the end of the season.
Which leads one to wonder if the Mariners should resign Suzuki or not.
Why they should:
- Ichiro is a model baseball player. With 15 of the 33 players in the Mariners clubhouse being rookies they need veterans to inspire and lead the team into 2012
- Ichiro has helped make the Mariners globally recognizable. He takes 18 Million, but probably helps the club pull in at least the much in marketing and merchandising.
- Ichiro is still a great baseball player who, I think, is loyally dedicated to the team. Shouldn’t the management and the fans give him the same loyalty in return?
Why they shouldn’t:
- Ichiro seems unwilling to change. The man is a model of routine, but also of stubbornness. He seems to be working on pursuing the 4000 hit mark instead of trying to do what is best for the team. If he isn’t willing to take one for the team, does the team really want him?
- Ichiro takes up a huge chunk of the payroll. The Mariners would be able to pursue some other high quality free agents and add some much needed power to the lineup.
- Ichiro is getting old. This season could be the indicator that even the greatest of athletes can’t outrun time. How much more do we want to pay on declining consistency?