Seattle Mariners GM, Jack Zduriencik, does not intend to deal Ichiro Suzuki at the July 31st trade deadline.
In fact, he expects Ichiro to be with the Mariners next season. This according to a report by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.
Morosi says that despite the Mariners need for some power from right field, the Mariners will keep Ichiro. He has a close relationship with Seattle’s owner and Zduriencik made it clear that the club has a great deal of respect for Ichiro.
“He’s a big part of this team,” Zduriencik said of Ichiro. “He’s a franchise player here, and we have phenomenal respect for him.”
Ichiro is having his worst Major League season of his career. He is hitting .258/.286/.345. His OPS of .631 is 14 points lower than last season – his previous career low. Yet, Ichiro is an institution in Seattle. He has done what no other Japanese player has ever been able to do. He succeeded in Japan – he’s a Hall of Famer there – and he’s succeed to the point of a likely Hall of Fame induction here as well.
The Mariners would benefit from hitting the trade market to try to rebuild their club. They play in the increasingly competitive American League East, and the division is only going to get more difficult as it moves to five teams next season with the addition of the Houston Astros. Remaining stagnant is not going to help the Mariners move forward, but the desire to keep Ichiro is an understandable one.
No one wants to trade away a Hall of Famer at the end of his career. But sometimes it is a necessity. The Mariners have not reached that point yet it would seem.
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