A Sorry Return For Suzuki


Edit: Joel covered the basics of this trade yesterday, which you can find aptly summed up here. If, for any reason, you feel the need to learn more about the sub-par pitchers the Mariners received for Ichiro… by all means, read on.

Lost in the flood of much-needed, much-deserved goodbyes to a player who’s been the face of a franchise for over a decade are the minute details of this trade.

The Mariners did not give up Ichiro for nothing.

True, they handed him over with little compensation, but I believe that has more to do with Ichiro’s cabin fever and less to do with Jack Z’s negotiating skills.

In exchange for absorbing the bulk of Ichiro’s salary, not to mention Ichiro himself, the Yankees looked over their farm system and found two RHPs they could bear to give up.

In other words, it’s not exactly Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda.

The first right-hander is D.J. Mitchell, a 10th round amateur draft pick from 2008, who has just four major league appearances under his belt. He spent his last 2 1/2 seasons in Scranton, picking up 21 wins and 13 losses with an FIP that jumped from 2.58 in 2010 to 3.96 in 2011 and 2012.

Last season, he notched 161.1 IP, pulling an ERA of 3.18 with a 1.78 K/BB and 1.35 WHIP. While his numbers have sagged in 2012, Mitchell made an impressive return to Scranton after his MLB performances, contributing 5 shutout innings last week against the White Sox Triple-A team.

The other name in the mix is Danny Farquhar. Like Mitchell, he is a 25-year-old righty with a handful of major league appearances to his name. Unlike Mitchell, he hasn’t seen the majors since last season, when he debuted with the Blue Jays and racked up a 13.50 ERA in 3 games and 2.0 IP.

Farquhar has had nothing close to a steady sample size for his 4 1/2 years of minor league service. In this half season alone, he has been designated for assignment three times: once by the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Athletics. This month, New York picked him up again for a brief stay in Double- and Triple-A, where he racked up 15 strikeouts and 2 hits in 13 IP and 7 games.

I started writing this introduction to Mitchell and Farquhar as some sort of consolation piece. “Hey, we lost Ichiro, but look, we have more middling relievers.” Instead, I’m finding that this only cements the idea that the Yankees received Ichiro for free; or worse, that the Mariners did New York some kind of favor by taking two failed prospects off their hands.

With Mike Carp and an undisclosed player filling the empty roster spots tomorrow, not to mention the over-saturation of promising pitchers clogging the farm system, it may be a while before we see either of these relievers debut with Seattle. Maybe—hopefully—the Mariners will eventually find a satisfactory return for one of Seattle’s best.