If the fans couldn’t have a championship team they could at least have the most unique player in Major League Baseball.
Today is a new day. A strange day, but a new day.
Last week, Jack Zduriencik hinted that not only would Ichiro finish out his contract in Seattle, but he would be welcomed back again next year.
The fan reaction was one thing, but to hear former Mariners slugger Jay Buhner say he would vomit if that happened took the demise of Ichiro up a notch. It should come as no surprise that Ichiro would ask to be traded.
Now that the initial shock of the news is behind us, sort of, here are five reasons that this trade was a good move:
1. Ichiro was taking away at bats from younger players
Seattle respected Ichiro, as well they should have, and as such they were committed to giving him playing time regardless of how bad he was playing.
But with Ichiro hitting only batting .261, he was essentially taking away at bats from youngsters like Casper Wells and Carlos Peguerro both of whom could benefit from more time.
Now the team can really move on.
2. Ichiro didn’t have a place in the line up
It was big news in Baseball, not just in Seattle, when Eric Wedge announced that Ichiro would be moved out of the lead off spot.
At first it seemed like Ichiro would be able to make the adjustment to being a 3-hole hitter and amping up his game to be able to hit in games like he does in batting practice. But as the season wore on, the only thing Ichiro hit more of was double plays.
Moving him back into the lead off spot just assured the team of their first out in the first inning. It was hard to watch… Now we don’t have to anymore.
3. Ichiro was overpaid
As is the practice in professional baseball, you overpay your superstars because you make a lot of money from their presence, their face and their ability to sell tickets beyond just their on field performance.
But in the case of Ichiro the past two seasons his salary was inhibiting the front office’s ability to sign other players like Prince Fielder last off season.
4. Ichiro’s trade gives the Mariners something in return
Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to see Ichiro end his career in Seattle, but truth be told if he would have ended it here this season, the only thing the Mariners would have gotten was the bill for the party.
I don’t know who these two minor league pitchers are, but at least there is something to show for Ichiro’s bad season.
Hope for the future.
5. Ichiro’s career advancement has the best chance somewhere else
I hate seeing another Mariners superstar end up in pinstripes, but in Seattle we are accustomed to cheering on our favorite players when they are wearing another team’s uniform.
I hope for Ichiro’s sake he has one more shot at a championship before he hangs his hat.
That doesn’t mean I’m a quasy New York fan now.
I mean… I have standards.
And remember Ichiro will be a free agent at the end of the season, we could always get him back…
And Chone Figgins could win the Cy Young award.