Fans of the Seattle Mariners that spent over the last decade rooting for their favorite Japanese right-fielder were forced to say sayonara at Safeco Field on Monday night.
Ichiro Suzuki waived his 10-and-5 rights to accept a trade to the New York Yankees, who just so happened to be visiting Seattle. So Ichiro switched dugouts just 3 ½ hours before the game and wouldn’t you know it… he singled for his 2,534th base-hit. His first in any uniform other than a Mariner’s. Then he promptly stole 2nd.
Ichiro’s numbers have been considerably down from his career averages since 2010, but he certainly brings an incredible resume with him to the Bronx.
Since he entered the league in 2001, no hitter in the game has more hits than Ichirio Suzuki. In fact, no one’s ever had more hits in MLB history than him in a player’s first 10 seasons. He became just the 2nd player ever to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season (’01).
He compiled 200 hits, an All-Star appearance, and a gold-glove in each of his first 10 seasons.
Ichiro has won 2 batting titles and owns the MLB record for hits in a season with 262 in 2004, a year he hit .372 with .414 on-base percentage.
Ichiro’s 38 years old; he’s not making the already well-aged Yankees any younger, however this deal will be extremely beneficial to the Bombers and is a win-win for both clubs.
Seattle says so long to what’s left to Ichiro’s 17 million contract for two right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. The Yankees add a professional they hope will come up big in October.
Ichiro will go from the top of the lineup in Seattle to the bottom in the Bronx. He was willing to sacrifice that, and any other conditions without hesitation.
He moves from the worst left-handed hitters ball park to the best, from last place in AL West to first in the AL East. He goes from the team with the fewest wins in Major League Baseball to the most. So you can see why the decision was so easy for him. Actually he asked for it…
Good for him. For the first time in his career, Ichiro, an icon not only in Seattle but far across the Pacific, now has his best chance to be a part of a World Series team since his rookie season.
The question is, does he have anything left in the tank to contribute?
Something tells me we’ll see the old Ichiro we were accustomed to all those years in Seattle. Only difference is, he’ll be wearing pin strips. That’s going to take some time to get used to, and definitely make it a little harder to root for him the way I once did.
Aaron Kirn is the Director of Video for Rant Sports
Follow him on twitter @AaronKirn