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Ichiro Could Reach Free Agency

John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports today that Ichiro Suzuki believes it is possible he will become a free agent for the first time after this season.  Ichiro is unsure of his feelings on that idea, and Hickey points out that this is not him saying he wants out.

Ichiro's agent, Tony Attanasio, brings up the midseason trade possibility:

"If it appears to them that they can't sign Ichiro, they might have to trade him. If they didn't, they'd risk just getting a draft choice for him."

However, the two sides have had preliminary discussions about an extension.  The issue may not be money, though - Ichiro said recently that if the Mariners offered him a billion-dollar contract, he'd have to think about it.  That's why the Ichiro-to-Boston type rumors will be in full force this summer.  The White Sox and Cardinals could be other possibilities.  And if he's willing to switch back to right field, even more possibilities will emerge.  The Yankees will have an opening there if they decline Bobby Abreu's $16MM option for '08.

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This is the kind of player the Cardinals should go after full force :)

I think Ichiro would score 155 runs at the top of the Cardinals lineup

who would they want more though, ichiro or mark beurhle. ichiro is obviously the better player, but the cards will still need another arm in their rotation unless all 4 of their question marks are answered this season

Can't they sign both?

They're budget as it stands right now is loose enough to fit Buerhle in and once Edmonds finishes this year, that will leave money to go after Ichiro.

If Terrmel Sledge doesn't perform well this year, I could see the Padres going hard after Ichiro. Assuming the Padres hold onto Cameron, it would take Ichiro moving to left field, which can be just as demanding as center field in Petco Park.

As far as the budget goes, there's still some space after this off-season and letting David Wells walk after this year with Cesar Carrillo coming up would allocate even more funds.

I definitely wouldn't mind seeing Ichiro and Cameron reunited at Petco.

If Kouzmanoff fulfills his potential as a power hitter, the Padres will only be that more dangerous in the coming years.

where would he play in Boston? theres a log jam in the out field with Crisp Manny Drew and Pena with Murphy and others on the way up. a 35 year old that realize on speed for his game is going to be a liability after 4 years. i mean where would he go? center is locked up for another 2 years with crisp on the cheap and right has JD drew for 4 maybe 5.

it is a scary proposition for the central if the cardinals get ichiro. they could keep edmonds another year till rasmus is ready, dump encarnacion and stick him in right. then they could throw this out there

eckstein
ichiro
pujols
edmonds
rolen
duncan
molina
kennedy

two of the toughest outs in baseball at the top, followed by the best hitter in the game...ouch

Theo has shown that he would sign anyone if it improves the team. Because Crisp has a cheap contract, he can easily be traded. Murphy is at best a reserve player and Pena is still too raw to play everyday. Ichiro doesn't just rely on speed to succeed. His bat control is excellent and he repeatedly wears pitchers out. I also think its premature to assume that his speed will diminish sufficiently to affect his play. Otis Nixon retained his speed well into his late 30's.

At the trade deadline last season, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Astros had sought to acquire Ichiro, but the Mariners weren't interested in talking. If he became available as a free agent, I wouldn't be surprised if the Astros are interested. Chris Burke will likely move from the outfield to 2b in 2008.

the Astros shouldnt stop there!! sign ichiro to a 100 million dollar contract and go after andruw jones for the 300 million dollar outfield :)

Can't see Boston getting too involved in Ichiro. They need to add some power to that lineup, that already includes Lugo, Youkilis, Lowell, Tek, Crisp and Pedroia.

They have Crisp in CF, Drew in RF, I can see Crisp being traded and WMP given a job if he can field ok because of that need for power. They have a young kid in the minors Ellsbury who they are big on for a 1-2 batting lineup role.

White Sox is a real possibility, especially if they lose Crede/Dye type players.

i can't see the stros making a run at him unless drayton mcclane is ready for a serious payroll jump. they already have to lock up jennings next year so the payroll should be in the $90 mil range i think. that would be amazing though; i'm sure lance berkman would enjoy hitting with someone on base more often

I agree with your point about the astros' payroll. I think Ichiro is a good fit with the Astros, and a lot of teams, if you don't overpay for him. But he is the type of popular player who will tempt some team somewhere to pay more than his production is worth. As for the Astros, I forgot that the team probably will first try to replace Burke in CF with Hunter Pence.

One thing which might affect Ichiro going to Boston is Matsuzaka's presence. There were a lot of reports stating that Matsuzaka did not want to sign with the Mariners (not that he had the option anyway) because he would be over-shadowed by Ichiro.

I really have no clue if those two dislike each other or not, but if Ichiro feels the same way about Matsuzaka, it could definitely affect Ichiro's decision since he is one of those few players who will be choosing his team not solely on $$$. And like mentioned above, I do not think Boston is that desperate for a CF / lead-off hitter type.

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