Mariners Aim To Retain Ichiro

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.


Leave a Reply

80 Comments on "Mariners Aim To Retain Ichiro"


Vogelscheuche
3 years 19 days ago

 This is far worse than the Jeter situation last Winter. At least Jeter can still produce. Ichiro should not be a starting player.

Terrence Ireland
3 years 19 days ago

And who do the Mariners start in his wake? Not like we have much better.

vtadave
3 years 19 days ago

Carlos Peguero is killing it in Triple-A and Trayvon Robinson still has some upside. Time to let Ichiro walk.

3 years 19 days ago

Carlos Peguero is already up and playing for the Mariners.

baseballbill77
3 years 19 days ago

Casper Wells is a better hitter than Ichiro is now and will be a better hitter in 2013. What are they going to bring him back for? He’s not a role player, unless there’s a role for hitting comebackers or fielders choices.

95isOver
3 years 19 days ago

Carlos Peguero has no business being on a professional baseball team roster.

Guest
3 years 19 days ago

I don’t understand why they don’t trade Felix. I know M’s fans are all going to get mad but with all there pitching depth in the minors why don’t they trade him and get a couple good prospect bats and build a more balanced team. 

cdlewey
3 years 19 days ago

Because you don’t trade a superstar pitcher who your fans love for prospects who probably won’t pan out. They shouldn’t trade him for anything less than proven major league hitters

Guest
3 years 19 days ago

All I got to say is look at your record… it doesn’t matter if the fans love him or not. Having 1 stud pitcher and a dismal offence is obviously not working!

Terrence Ireland
3 years 19 days ago

Because look at our past trades. If they trade Felix, is Jack going to be smart enough to get the right player? Smoak for Lee, Smoak is still not panning out. Montero for Pineda, Montero still not looking good as well. I know it’s early on these guys, but it’s not looking good now, and that’s all I can judge on right now.

3 years 19 days ago

Don’t forget Bedard for Adam Jones, the m’s just don’t make those kinds of trades well.

Tyrell Osborne
3 years 19 days ago

 Montero is a different story, this is his first year in the majors and is only 22 man.

Bob9988
3 years 19 days ago

 To be honest, the only thing that is keeping the Mariners in Seattle is Felix Hernandez.  If the M’s ship him out of town, they might as well start looking for a new location.  The fans barely come out as it is and if Felix goes, most people will say to hell with it.  And they have already lost a generation of fans as it is by being so bad for so long.

LyricalAssassin
3 years 19 days ago

 Really? We have about the same per game attendance as the White Sox- I guess they are gonna be moving too?!?!?!?!?!

All it takes to get Seattle into top 10 in attendance is to build a winning team.  Fans will come if they win (which is a lot more than you can say for Pitt and KC).

Bob9988
3 years 19 days ago

 yeah but this is the west coast.  All the die hard  fans that will follow the team through thick and thin, they are already there.

monroe_says
monroe_says
3 years 19 days ago

If the Seattle fans “love” Felix so much, why was Safeco only 62% full (29,000) for a beautiful Saturday night start vs. Yu Darvish and the AL Champions? (and incidentally Felix was brilliant with a 3 hit complete game shut-out and 12 Ks)

LyricalAssassin
3 years 19 days ago

 22k is average attendance for M’s this season

FelixFan
3 years 19 days ago

The Mariners have a string of hitters that at one time were considered elite prospects but have since flamed out (Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero). This is the core of their lineup and it isn’t working out. Which proves that trading Felix Hernandez for anything short of proven, major league talent is too risky.

He’s one of the most valuable assets in the game and arguably the best arm in Seattle Mariners history. He’s a proven talent that gets fans in the seats in a rough stretch of poor seasons. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to trade him for a package of prospects that may or may not pan out.

If I am Zduriencik, I only consider trades that net the M’s certainty when it comes to the bats. Say the Rangers wanted to get involved, I believe the M’s would require a package along the lines of shortstop Elvis Andrus, center fielder Leonys Martin and left handed pitcher Matt Harrison. Albeit, it could be a drastic overpay on the Rangers part but Hernandez isn’t going to be cheap and someone would have to offer more than he’s worth for the M’s to even listen.

3 years 19 days ago

While I do agree with your premise, I don’t think we should label Ackley or Montero “busts,” especially not Montero, who has only been with the Mariners for half of a season. It’s far too early to say that, in my opinion. Saunders has been useful as well this season.

3 years 17 days ago

I just wrote basically this above, and completely agree on all three guys. If you want to get exasperated with Smoak then by all means, be my guest FelixFan, but the other three don’t deserve that. Not yet, anyway. Saunders especially has taken big strides this season.

HowNeatIsThat
3 years 19 days ago

Ridiculously early to say Ackley and Montero have “flamed out.” Also, as the Mariners don’t seem to be on track to contend for another 2-3 years, it wouldn’t make sense to acquire players whose clocks have already started. Reality seems to indicate that the M’s won’t retain Hernandez when he hits free agency and maximizing the return in a trade has to at least be strongly considered.

FelixFan
3 years 19 days ago

Saying that they have flamed out may have been a bit harsh, but both of these guys are out to mediocre at best starts (Ackley has posted a 97 wRC+ in 740 PA’s; Montero a 93 wRC+ in 365 PA’s) after being projected as future stars. The Mariners have pondered sending both to the minor leagues. And this is who they are building their lineup around.

In my hypothetical trade, Andrus and Harrison could both be extended for significantly less than what Felix Hernandez is making at the moment before they hit the prime of their careers.

HowNeatIsThat
3 years 19 days ago

You said it yourself, “future” stars. Just because guys don’t start off like Braun or Tulowitzki doesn’t mean they won’t develop. Players need to be given time, plain and simple. 

3 years 19 days ago

 ?? What makes you say that Felix by all accounts says he want’s to be a Mariner his entire career.

The_Unnatural
3 years 19 days ago

 Saunders was never considered elite.

harmony55
3 years 19 days ago

A “couple of good prospect bats” is a risky proposition as the current Seattle lineup has four players whom Baseball America midseason prospect lists ranked No. 3 (Jesus Montero in 2009), No. 4 (Justin Smoak in 2009), No. 7 (Dustin Ackley in 2010) and No. 25 (Michael Saunders in 2009).

In the unlikely event Seattle places Felix Hernandez on the trading block, the Mariners probably will seek an established bat such as Brett Lawrie, Giancarlo Stanton or Jason Heyward (although there is no guarantee any would post big numbers in the AL West playing half of his games at Safeco Field).

3 years 19 days ago

How about a package along the lines of Wil Myers, Mike Moustakas and Jake Odirizzi?

Bob9988
3 years 19 days ago

 Give me butler too and you got a deal.

harmony55
3 years 19 days ago

Their prospect rankings fall just short of the previous rankings of Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders.

3 years 17 days ago

Moustakas is already up and producing better than any of the Mariners you mentioned in his first full season. You’re judging a bit quickly on Montero and Ackley, and Saunders has turned into a decent player. 

3 years 17 days ago

If you’re going to give up on acquiring talented prospects just because a few haven’t worked out, you better have enough money to be the Yankees. We’ve done well in the other direction, too. See: Felix, Pineda, Ichiro, etc.

Karkat
3 years 19 days ago

I can’t even fathom Ichiro playing for another team. And obviously he’s struggled this season and the last (the only times his OPS+ has dipped below 100) but I think next year is going to be the make-or-break season for him. I have to imagine the Mariners will offer him a cautious contract, and he’ll have to accept.

3 years 19 days ago

Ichiro won’t be back and if he is that wouldn’t be smart thing for us to do glad he keeps hammering home that Felix is untouchable though i agree with that part.

mwxiao
3 years 19 days ago

It’s time for Ichiro to start his pitching career.  Seriously. 

Edgar4evar
3 years 19 days ago

This would be epic. If he stopped batting and started developing a changeup today he’d be in the bullpen by this time next season.

sky blue
3 years 19 days ago

from a purely baseball stance this makes no sense
from a business standpoint to makes absolute sense

Bob9988
3 years 19 days ago

 no….even from a business standpoint does this make sense.

Hannibal8us
3 years 19 days ago

Seattle is incredibly silly for holding onto King Felix, get something for him while he still has through the roof value, because it won’t get any higher then it is right now. I can see that people are worried about getting prospects in return that will pan out but that’s the risk you gotta make, this team isn’t a year or two away from competing they are 4+ years away and trust me Felix won’t be the same pitcher in 4+ years.

TophersReds
3 years 19 days ago

That’s like saying the Pirates are “incredibly silly” for holding on to McCutchen or the Reds are “incredibly silly” for holding on to Votto. How would you feel if the Pirates traded McCutchen? Probably the same way M’s fans would feel if King Felix were traded. 

RedSoxStatNerd
3 years 19 days ago

That’s completely different. The Reds have the potential to be a playoff team year in year out for the next 10 years with those players. And in the Pirates case, they were planning on being in contention in the next year or two AND they had success last year before they got screwed over.

Mariners need to make up their mind.

TophersReds
3 years 19 days ago

Fans want to be able to tout a superstar, or else who do fans go to the game to see? The M’s don’t got much star power besides Felix. 

And how did the Pirates get screwed over last year? They simply sucked and couldn’t win many games. That’s not getting screwed over, it’s losing.

Jeffy25
3 years 19 days ago

Popular players are not why fans go to games, this has been proven so many times.

Winning brings fans, not stars.

Bob9988
3 years 19 days ago

 Refer to my comment above.

3 years 19 days ago

The Mariners have already made up their mind, and it’s been stated countless times that Felix won’t be traded. It’s the media and fans of other teams that always suggest to trade Felix.

Jeffy25
3 years 19 days ago

Pretty sure they have made up their minds.

They are keeping Felix.

Which is also what they should be doing.

The only people unsure are the fans. Z and Felix both seem to know he isn’t going anywhere.

ultimate913
3 years 19 days ago

 Completely different scenarios. Even with the extension, McCutchen will not be making 20 mil at all throughout his contract. Felix is a SP with alot of miles on him, probably the most injury prone type of player in baseball. Seattle is playing in a division where Texas and the Angels have one of the best prospects in the game. One is already playing and completely dominating(Trout) while the other is close to the bigs(Profar). While one good prospect doesn’t really make or break those teams, both teams are already much better than Seattle. Those guys will only make the gap between them even bigger.

While McCutchen plays for the Pirates who have very talented prospects in Cole and Taillon, that division has, by no means, a definitive leader. PIT can very likely get hot, win the division and maybe even deep into the playoffs(like the Cards last year).

SEA, on the other hand, is more than just one player away from making the playoffs. Not even contending for the WS. Just making the playoffs. At this point, Felix is just a ‘pitch once every 5 days, get the fans excited and probably suck the other 4 days’ type of player for the M’s. Not only will he be making 20 mil+ the last 2 years of his contract, but even more miles will be added on that arm of his which increase the chances of him getting hurt and his value going down.

The time to sell high on Felix is now.

FelixFan
3 years 19 days ago

You’re crazy. The plethora of young talent in the organization (Walker, Hultzen, Franklin, Paxton, Zunino) will all be up by the end of 2013, and you’re saying these young pieces along with Felix couldn’t be a contender for an additional 3+ years? If the M’s spend a little bit of cash this offseason (which they’ll have plenty of with only $40-50 million committed to the payroll next season), they’ll be competing as early as 2014.

notsureifsrs
3 years 19 days ago

you can’t base decisions on what prospects will do, remember? too risky!

fascinating that everyone else’s prospects will flame out if you trade felix for them, but your prospects will all come through and a contending team will be born if you just wait around a year or two (…when his contract expires)

FelixFan
3 years 19 days ago

See below

3 years 19 days ago

The difference is, we already have those prospects. You’d rather take the chance with prospects already in your possession than ones that it would take King Felix to acquire, in this case.

FelixFan
3 years 19 days ago

Go back and show me where I said everyone else’s prospects will flame out if they trade Felix for them. I’ll save you some time and tell you that you that I never said that.

But Felix is one of the best young talents in the game and prospects are prospects, they succeed and they fail. I’d much rather deal a superior proven talent for not only a number of pieces that could help the M’s immedietly but also have a solid track record in the MLB to date.

I never said having prospects is risky. I said trading Felix for a few players that likely wouldn’t turn into half of what he is is risky.

notsureifsrs
3 years 19 days ago

you said prospects are risky – too risky to trade felix for

now what would be the purpose of getting those prospects? to build a winning team, yes? but counting of prospects to build a winning team is too risky, according to your earlier comment upthread

but now, down here, you’re making a case for holding felix specifically because “the plethora of young talent in the organization (Walker, Hultzen, Franklin, Paxton, Zunino) will all be up by the end of 2013″

in other words, you are already counting on prospects to build a winning team

but you want to do it with felix

but that’ll take a couple years, and felix will only be around for another couple years

so what’s the real risk here: cashing out for one of the largest hauls of talent in recent memory to be added to an already strong crop of young talent poised to revitalize the mariners

orrr

hoping against all odds that felix doesn’t get hurt and doesn’t decline and doesn’t take more money to play for the dozen or so teams that can and will outbid the mariners in 2 years and hoping that after that last miracle occurs he again does not get hurt or decline, as pitchers often do

listen, if you want to keep felix because he’s your binky, i totally get that. he’s awesome. that’s respectable. but just say that. because the argument from risk doesn’t add up

3 years 19 days ago

I don’t know why you immediately just assume Felix won’t even so much as entertain an extension, as if he was somehow completely oblivious to the fact that he could’ve gotten more money initially had he just waited and hit free agency after 2011. Felix can be extended; there’s more evidence supporting that than there is to say he’ll leave or get traded.

jb226
3 years 19 days ago

I don’t think he assumed that at all, he addressed it as a risk factor in the decision to keep Felix — which it is.

I think Felix is more likely than somebody like Cole Hamels to sign an extension, but you can’t discount the possibility that he may decide the grass is greener somewhere else, especially with as bad as the Mariners have been during his current extension.  In fact that was part of FelixFan’s argument, which was being responded to: The current crop of “great prospects” the Mariners have graduated to the Majors–in his words, not mine–“flamed out.”  If the argument is “sign an extension Felix, we have some great prospects coming and we’re about to get really good!” then you have to at least entertain the possibility that his response is “I’ve heard that one before.”

(And before anybody asks, no, I think it’s entirely too early to say that players like Ackley or Montero have flamed out.)

dshires4
3 years 19 days ago

NO! This isn’t how you build a team. You don’t give roster spots to aging, former stars just to appease your bosses. Man up and let Ichiro walk into retirement after the end of the season. Give that roster spot to a player who has a future with the organization.

John Evans
3 years 19 days ago

The only way they should bring him back is with the understanding he will be a fourth or fifth outfielder, to be used mainly as a pinch hitter, pinch runner and late-innings defensive replacement.  In other words, in a greatly diminished role…  And if he comes back and not as a regular, how much money will they pay him?  As a Mariner fan, I love Ichiro but will admit I was pretty excited about his huge salary coming off the books for next season.  It might allow them to sign a good player or two, or to trade for an established player who might command a bigger salary.  So while I love all Ichiro has done for the M’s, it’s time for them to move on.  Let this season be his farewell tour.  Let someone else, like Wells, play RF next year. 

Rabbitov
3 years 19 days ago

I guess I am alone in thinking this is a good thing?  Ichiro is the man.

3 years 19 days ago

I’d like to see him go back and play in Japan.  He could be a good player there and the fans would love him.  Seems like the best fit for him.

bigblue1184
3 years 19 days ago

OMG quit it already with this trade Felix bandwagon. LET ME STATE THAT FELIX IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. It doesnt matter who the prospects are. Felix has stated over and over and over and over again that he loves Seattle and wants to win in Seattle. Jack Z has stated over and over and over and over again that he is off limits and wont be traded. I will say right now that he will get a contract extension during the winter between 20-25 million a year. More then likely he will take a home town discount just like he did with his last contract. Once again Felix is not going to get traded period

bigblue1184
3 years 19 days ago

 

But he’s not available, Zduriencik insisted.

“He’s going to be a Mariner,” the GM said. “We intend to keep him. I’m telling you, he’s going to be a Mariner.”

If the Mariners trade a starter, it’s more likely they would move left-hander Jason Vargas, whom Zduriencik described as “Mr. Consistency.”

safari_punch
3 years 19 days ago

Ichiro would be a good fit in San Fran, I’d think. He is more of an NL type of a player.

The ideal RF for the Mariners is the outfielder they released last year: Milton Bradley.

3 years 19 days ago

I refuse to believe Ichiro has nothing left in the tank, he’ll heat up again. He has to…right?

Let_Timmy_Smoke
3 years 19 days ago

    I think Ichiro does have gas left in his tank, and it’s not just wishful thinking.  Looking at his stats, you get a pretty good idea of what’s going on.  He has the lowest K% in the AL.  He also has the fifth-lowest walk rate in the AL.  So basically, Ichiro makes contact on 90% of his at-bats, a ridiculously high rate.  That means that his success hinges on what he does when he makes contact.  He still has one of the highest line drive rates in the game, but last year and this year he has a well-below-average BABIP.  Translation: he’s lining alot of balls (like a quarter of his at-bats) but they’re not finding holes.  Ichiro is also slowing down, meaning it’s harder for him to leg out infield hits like in the old days.
    My guess is regression to the mean will kick in, and his line drives will start finding a few more holes, to the tune of a .285 Batting average this half.  Nothing like the old days (where his speed resulted in a typical BABIP of .350+) but a solid regular when you factor in his defense.
   

jb226
3 years 19 days ago

“but last year and this year he has a well-below-average BABIP.”

The problem with regression to the mean is that it is based on an assumption that the mean is the “right value.”  It works great for things like random chance where we should be able to calculate odds and see our results get closer and closer to that value with increasing samples, but it works less well with things that don’t have a (measurable) right answer.  People can do some pretty amazing things with it in sports by weighting the results, but it’s still far from infallible.  Look at the projections for him, for example: not a single one that isn’t already taking this season into account has him under .300 BABIP or under a .278 BA, but both are true.

I say that because of your quote above.  A BABIP below a career number may well indicate bad luck, especially if the player has a fairly consistent career number to work from, but it can also be the result of making poor contact.  When a low BABIP continues for a year and a half and counting, I have to think it’s at least equally valid to assume the player has lost something than that he’s in a year and a half streak of bad luck that’s due to break at any time.  I think your explanation that he’s slowing down is a good one.  I’m not a Mariners fan so I don’t see him a lot, but I’d also suggest entertaining the possibility that his bat is slowing down.

Can he rebound?  Sure, why not?  Especially when the rebound we’re talking is only going from a first half number of .258 to a second-half prediction of .285.  I’m not sure I’d bet on it though.

Let_Timmy_Smoke
3 years 19 days ago

that’s a good point jb226, which is why I looked into his batted balls numbers.  He still has a very high line drive rate.  It’s not like he’s not getting around on the ball anymore, or his ground ball and pop-up rates are increasing.  Were that the case I’d say the BABIP is an indication of a change in how he’s hitting.  Since almost all of his peripherals are the same as they were in 2009, then I think in this particular case regression may be in store.  Not always though, you’re right. 
    Keep in mind too, Ichiro’s career numbers prior to this year were consistently well above .300 BABIP.  So while that may be a combination of good luck, it was also his propensity to get from the batter’s box to 1b faster than anyone else.  Speedsters typically have a BABIP over .320.  Not saying he’s going to regress back to that, since his speed skill has deteriorated (although I would still argue it’s above league average).  I would estimate based on how he hits his “typical” BABIP at this stage should be around .315-.320, yet he’s looking at .270 over the past year.  So it’s not inconceivable that his average could jump up quite a bit.  Not close to the level he used to be at, but a more than respectable figure IMHO.
   Can’t emphasize enough the need for Ichiro to try and take more walks.  Since he’s able to make contact 90% of the time he’s up at plate, I gotta think his eyes/plate discipline is pretty good.  he’s just always been very aggressive.  As he hits his twilight years, I think he may need to re-adjust and place more emphasis on getting on base.  Maybe he just doesn’t have it in him, but to me this is likely a will issue and not a skill.  he never had to try and walk much in the past.  He may have to now.

3 years 19 days ago

I know that Ichiro has been the face of the Mariners for years, but every ballplayer has his skills decline. Based on what Ichiro has done already, I think that he really should potentially consider retirement at season’s end instead of hanging on too long. He’s now down to ordinary when he used to be stratospheric for so long. As for the new face of the franchise going forward, that should be King Felix.

joe dittmore
3 years 19 days ago

time to let ichiro go

3 years 19 days ago

I know he’s 38 (39 in the fall) and I love Ichiro, but his skills have really fallen off the cliff in the past 18 months, like, big time. I guess I thought he could go on forever.

monroe_says
monroe_says
3 years 19 days ago

Sadly, it’s time for Ichiro to retire. His game is built on speed and he’s clearly lost a step or two. As an added bonus, if he announced now, the M’s might be able to sell some tickets for the rest of the season. 

baseballbill77
3 years 19 days ago

Those of you saying Ichiro still has something left:  Do you actually watch Mariner games?  Or just look at stats?  His defense is good, but he cannot hit.  He should be batting 8th or 9th on a NL team. 

3 years 19 days ago

Ichiro has nothing left if he is brought back it will be like Griffey in his final season just a attraction.