In one of the more surprising pieces of Seattle sports news in recent history, Jack Curry of the YES Network was the first to report that Ichiro Suzuki along with cash considerations had been dealt to the New York Yankees. The Yankees will return RHP D.J. Mitchell, and RHP Danny Farquhar.
This move was unexpected by many, but as reported by numerous outlets, including the Seattle P.I. Ichiro approached ownership weeks ago, to ask for a trade.
The focus here is not the package that the Yankees sent to the Mariners, it is next to irrelevant for me. They could contribute at the Major League level, but bring no star potential. The focus of the deal is Ichiro is no longer a Mariner. The deal could have been for very little cash, and it still tops the list of transactions made since Jack Zduriencik took over as the teams GM prior to the 2009 season.
This is not about moving a valuable piece to a buying playoff contender. This is not about rebuilding your system through selling as a team that sits 16 games out of first place in their division. This move if anything else, should let fans know, we are headed in the right direction. As discussed in a recent article regarding Ichiro’s contract situation, the decision was set to define Jack Zdurienciks tenure, whether his hands were tied by Japanese ownership or not. That concern has been eliminated, and it is now time to focus on the post Ichiro Suzuki era.
As the roster sits today, they have an open spot on the 25 man roster. The natural belief is that Mike Carp would step back in to that spot, as his rehab assignment comes to an end tonight. Interestingly, Carp is out of options so he needs to be called up, or DFA’d, and the latter may not be as ridiculous as it sounds. Is Carp healthy? He has struggled mightily in Tacoma since beginning his rehab, and for unknown reasons missed both games of the teams doubleheader on Sunday. One day left on a make or break rehab stint, and he sits? The Carp situation will be an interesting one to follow late tonight, and in to tomorrow morning as we await the official decision from the club.
Casper Wells is the natural full time replacement in RF, but with Franklin Guttierez still struggling with concussion symptoms, the team still sits one OF short behind Wells, and Michael Saunders. Carlos Peguero is in the lineup tonight, replacing Ichiro, but that is likely temporary.
Darren Ford is a name that could come up as well. A speedy CF with minimal experience in the bigs with the Giants, has been doing some good things for Tacoma since he returned from an early season injury, .321/.363/.489. He could fit in CF moving Saunders back to LF while Wells takes over RF.
Regardless of what happens in the coming days, there is plenty of reasons for Mariner fans everywhere to be excited. This team is not done making changes between now and the July 31 trade deadline. This move has sent a message, and the message is we are ready to move forward, and whether or not they were handcuffed with Ichiro by Japanese ownership in the past, those days are behind us all. There will be no worries come Winter about potentially adding Ichiro back to the books on another multi-year deal at any cost. Ichiro will always be one of the best Mariners to put on the jersey, we need to never forget that. Fortunately, this ended with a clean breakup, and hopefully Mariner fans will take the next three days with the Yankees in town to show their respect to Ichiro and all he has done for this franchise. Time to show your class Seattle.