With the Yanks’ outfield a sore spot this year, a lot of commenters on this and other Yankee sites have suggested the Bombers pursue Ichiro Suzuki this winter. I’ve never been a fan of that move; Ichiro, much like Johnny Damon, would command too much money base don his past performance and not enough on what he will do. While Ichiro won’t decline as much as Damon has, old Ichiro won’t be nearly as potent as 30-year-old Ichiro.
But worry not, Yankee fans. Word has emerged, via FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal, that the Mariners are Ichiro are nearing agreement on a five-year extension that could worth $100 million. That $100 million sure makes that full-sized Hybrid Chevy SUV Ichiro won tonight as MVP of the All Star Game a real piece of junk.
This contract is exactly why I didn’t want Ichiro on the Yanks. Can you imagine Ichiro in 38 when some of his speed has left him? He’ll be a slap hitting outfielder with a much lower average and less power. He won’t be able to cover as much ground in the outfield either. All of that could be yours for just $18-$20 million a year!
In reality, the Mariners’ need to sign Ichiro transcends baseball. It is a business decision. His presence as a superstar on this team gives them unfettered access to the Japanese leagues and the Japanese media markets. As long as Ichiro remains a Mariner, the team will be in perennial contention for the latest big-name import. And as long as he stays on the team, their games will reach millions of Japanese fans across the Pacific Ocean from Seattle.
We can dream about a player of Ichiro’s caliber playing in New York, but the last thing the Yanks need is a superstar on the wrong end of his career. The Mariners need to take the risk, and they’ve saved the Yanks from making a mistake.