Today, Ichiro ended a twelve year stint with the Mariners as he was traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for two prospects. The Mariners will eat most of the 38 year old’s salary in the trade, and will receive two pitching prospects, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, who are both 25 years old.
The Mariners will pay for all but 2 million of the 17 million he is owed this season. The former Mariner actually requested the trade a few weeks back, and the organization obliged today.
Mitchell is in his first year as a major leaguer and has thrown just 4.2 innings in relief this season. In AAA this year, he posted a 5.04 ERA and started 14 games, while he started 24 AAA games last year and put up a 3.18 ERA.
Farquhar has bounced around a lot this season. He started in Toronto before being claimed off waivers by Oakland and was then claimed off waivers by the Yankees. In 51.1 innings of relief for four different AA and AAA teams, Farquahar has a 3.33 ERA.
Now that all of the facts are out of the way, let’s look at what this means as Mariner fans. First of all, we no longer have to worry about Jay Buhner throwing up. Next, it will give the Mariners the ability to switch up the batting order without the restrictions they were originally burdened by. It also opens up an everyday spot for another young outfielder like Carlos Peguero or Mike Carp who has spent most of the year in Tacoma.
As for the prospects the M’s got in return, they’re certainly nothing to write home about. Neither are big time names, and both have been referred to as career minor leaguers. I actually think that Mitchell is an option in the starting rotation right now considering the struggles of Noesi, Beavan, and Iwakuma.
I am not at all worried about eating most of Ichiro’s 2012 salary. In reality, Seattle would have paid him either way, but with this arrangement, they will get a few million back and will also get a few players back. This deal also means that Seattle will not be forced to make a decision between likely overpaying him and letting a future hall-of-famer leave town.
Finally, I would like to recognize the phenomenal career of Ichiro Suzuki. In over eleven years in a Mariner uniform, he hit .322, led the league in hits seven times, and stole 438 bases on the course to winning an MVP, Rookie of the Year, 10 all-star appearances, 10 gold gloves, 3 silver sluggers, and setting the single season hits record.
Ichiro played a major role in the 116 win season in 2001 and was the face of the franchise for a decade. I am happy that Ichiro will finally get to play for a contending baseball team, because he has only been to the playoffs once in his career.
If you are attending the game tonight, give Ichiro a long, sincere, and warm round of applause. He did great things for the city and brought us fans a lot of joy. He played hard in Seattle and played over 155 games in every season except one during his stint in Seattle. Even as a 36 year old, he played every game, and he played every game but one as a 37 years old. Ichiro Suzuki is a first ballot hall-of-famer and will undoubtedly be inducted as a Seattle Mariner.