Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik expects to keep right fielder Ichiro Suzuki past the July 31st trade deadline, and also expects the 38-year-old back with the team in 2013, he told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ichiro remains a "franchise player" in Zduriencik's eyes despite a .260/.286/.348 line so far in 2012. Ichiro seems to be entering the most difficult phase of a superstar's career, coming up for a new contract as his game declines across the board. I imagine his $17MM salary would have to be more than cut in half, but if Ichiro's struggles continue, even a starting role will be a debatable choice.
As for Felix Hernandez, Zduriencik continued to hammer home the ace's unavailability. Instead, Morosi reminds of us Jason Vargas' trade candidacy, noting that "Zduriencik is expected to look for offense in return" for the lefty.