As a long time Seattle Mariners fan and a person with distaste for the New York Yankees, I can sum up last night’s trade in two words. It stinks. The face of the franchise, Ichiro Suzuki, and cash was sent to the New York Yankees for two prospects. I know that Ichiro is nearing the end of his career, and it became unclear if he was going to continue with the Mariners, since the Mariners aren’t close to a playoff birth in the near future. So, like Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez, another superstar is heading to greener pastures.
It will correctly be pointed out that Ichiro is not the player that he once was. Ichiro is batting .261, eleven points lower than his career-low he set last season. But, for a team that can’t score runs, Ichiro was still batting over .250. His .261 mark was still higher than any regular Mariner starter this season, only behind John Jaso and Franklin Gutierrez. If Seattle was going to move Ichiro, getting some bats would’ve been nice to replace Ichiro. Instead, the Mariners received two pitching prospects. D.J. Mitchell, a 25 year old right-handed SP, was 6-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 14 starts for Triple AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Mitchell did have a couple of short stints with the Yankees this season giving up seven hits and two ER in 4.2 innings of relief work. Danny Farquhar, a 25 year old right-handed RP who the Yankees had picked up from the A’s off waivers in late June, last pitched in the majors for Toronto in 2011. We may see Mitchell depending on what happens to the staff by the trading deadline if Seattle moves Millwood or Vargas.
And, the kicker, the New York Yankees, of all teams, will receive $2.25 million dollars to help pay the rest of Ichiro’s 2012 salary. So the Mariners get the short end of the deal, then send cash to the Yankees, also. Overall, the Mariners will be saving money, but for an offense that was already staggering, this was quite a blow. The Mariners were coming off an impressive road trip where they went 5-2, including taking two of three from Tampa Bay, a team that had swept them four straight earlier in the season. Although it’s bad for Seattle, unless Mitchell becomes John Smoltz from the Smoltz-Doyle Alexander trade, Ichiro will get a last chance to chase for a ring. The Yankees are a sure bid to make this year’s playoffs, where Seattle can’t guarantee Ichiro competing for another spot before he would retire. It’s a new start for Ichiro, and, as a Mariner fan, I wish him well.