Ichiro, M’s nearing five-year extension

Slooooooow day
There was an All-Star game last night?

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.

Slooooooow day
There was an All-Star game last night?
  • John

    I suspect that Ichiro will compensate for his declining speed by increasing his power. We’ve seen what he can do when he pulls the ball, and they’ve always said he could hit 20 homers if he was happy being a .280 hitter.
    Not worth 20 million, but not Damon.

    I also disagree with the notion that Ichiro somehow contributes to the M’s play for other Japanese imports. If MLB teams are willing to overpay for players via the posting system, then we’ll see fewer and fewer Japanese FA like Hideki. (Ichiro was posted for $13 million; makes Igawa look even worse, if that’s possible).

  • steve

    its not possible ;)

  • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

    Ichiro is regarded by his fellow WBC teammates as one of the greatest Japanese athletes to ever play organized sports and a class-A jackass. There may be a few guys that like him, but the impression I get is that most find him to be a self-absorbed blowhard. It’s true. He is.

    I think Kenji Johjima’s role as catcher would be more of a draw for any Japanese pitcher than Ichiro.

    That said, Ben is 100% spot on that $100 million for Ichiro is only a wise investment for one MLB team. Seattle. He is the face of that organization, incidentally owned by Japanese. He had to be back at all costs, and he’s there’s for keeps. Congrats guys. $20 million a year for a sub-900 OPS man. Ugh.

  • brxbmrs


    Agreed, would have loved to see Ichiro on a 3 year deal with the Yanks – especially if it kept that Mike Cameron impersonator – Torii Hunter out of pinstripes (a guy who IMHO never hits in a big spot, just like Cammy). Lets not even discuss Andruw Jones with his .210 or so ba.

    The real ? is though, if Ichiro at 34 really gets a 5 year $100 mil extension, what does that mean for the market value of a certain 32 year old 3rd baseman who also plays a “little” shortstop? Is this the Dimag comment of “meet your new partner Mr. Steinbrenner” finally come to fruition? (or knowing Boras, meet your new partnerS Georgie boy?).


    Go Yanks, and this site is beyond great.

  • http://riveravenuewatch.blogspot.com/ Mike NYY

    what does that mean for the market value of a certain 32 year old 3rd baseman who also plays a “little” shortstop?

    It means that nobody except the Yankees will be able to afford to sign him probably ;)

  • Mike K

    Signing Hunter, Jones, or Ichiro (Ichiro wouldve been my first choice), makes very little sense for the Yankees, especially if it would be at the expense of A-Rod. Damon and Giambi are still on the books for next year so signing one of those three would mean that you would probably have a Melky-less outfield. To be honest, given Melky’s salary (or lackthereof), I’d rather have a cheap everyday Melky than an expensive Hunter, and use that some of that money on A-Rod and to fund your 2009 opening day starter, Johan Santana.

    Someopne remind me about Abreu’s contract. Is it a team or player option for next year?

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    Abreu’s got a team option which, unless he hits about .500/.600/1.000 this half, will be declined.

  • brxbmrs

    IF the Yanks can field a better team while bringing the payroll down, that’s great – nothing worse than paying a guy huge $ and see that he’s a bust. But lets not lose sight of the fact that the Yanks biggest advantage is their bank account.

    Yanks don’t have a real budget as far as I can tell – one mandated by Steinbrenner and arising out of a lack of $ to make payroll. I don’t think that the Yanks have to make a choice – i.e. we can’t sign Hunter and keep A-Rod – what I don’t want to see is the Yanks signing guys that won’t help this team win in October – that’s Hunter and Jones.

    I’d rather have Melky play everyday not b\c he makes 430K, but b\c he can catch, throw and slaps the ball to all fields. Hopefully Melky proves many wrong and develops into a legitimate everyday Ofer – another reason to play him (besides out of desperation) – at 22 years old he might (should) continue to develop.

    One of Cashman’s biggest mistakes this year is HE felt the need to “reduce” payroll (reduce in quotes b\c that went to hell with the signing of Rocket).

    I think Cashman did that b\c he was tired of criticism in the media that the Yanks “weren’t playing fair”. Simply idiotic, he didn’t have enough hair on his balls to tell everyone to go to hell.

    Whew, I feel better now.

  • Mike R.

    If you ask me Ichiro can stay in Seattle, Hunter can go to the North Side of Chicago and Andruw Jones can sign anywhere he wants. If I’m Cashman I make reservations in Benny Hana’s take Fukudome out for a steak and lobster and start convincing him to sign with the Yanks. Japanese bookends in the outfield.

    The guy is younger (and probably cheaper) than Ichiro and Hunter, proyects to have a high OBP and hit a ton of doubles and won’t cost a draft pick.

    Japanese pitching imports have not translated very well to the states, but the position players that have come over have made the transition very smoothly.

  • CB

    The Fukudome notion is intriguing – by all accounts he’s a five tool type of player. He’s supposed to have a legit right field arm so melky could stay in center (or damon but…) Fukudome’s the same age as Jones but would likely come for quite a bit less (though still a good chunk of change 3-4yrs at 10-14 million?). And of course there’s no posting fee. However, after the disaster that is Kei Igawa it would be a very bold move doing something risky like that. Cash would really show something dipping back into the Japanese talent pool after Igawa.

    Eric Byrnes is a name that doesn’t come up a lot but who I think might be a very good fit for the yankees to replace Abreu. He’s a free agent but not of the Jones/ Hunter stratosphere. Still very productive and well rounded – has speed, good defender hits for some power. He’s athletic and can play center. Melky could move to right. Byrnes is the type of well rounded non-superstar that they’ve shied away from over the last several years.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    Eric Byrnes is a name that doesn’t come up a lot but who I think might be a very good fit for the yankees to replace Abreu.

    And he’s got a dog.

  • cb

    he’s got a dog that can swim