Mariners Insider Blog

Lineups, a few quick links, notes and other stuff

Mariners (29-40)

  • 51  Ichiro Suzuki (L)     RF
  • 21  Franklin Gutierrez    CF
  • 15  Kyle Seager (L)       3B
  • 63  Jesus Montero         C
  • 55  Michael Saunders (L)  LF
  • 17  Justin Smoak (S)      1B
  • 13  Dustin Ackley (L)     2B
  • 26  Brendan Ryan          SS
  • 50  Erasmo Ramirez        RHP
Diamondbacks (33-34)
  • 18  Willie Bloomquist     SS
  • 2  Aaron Hill            2B
  • 10  Justin Upton          RF
  • 13  Jason Kubel (L)       LF
  • 44  Paul Goldschmidt      1B
  • 26  Miguel Montero (L)    C
  • 15  Josh Bell (S)         3B
  • 8  Gerardo Parra (L)     CF
  • 41  Daniel Hudson         RHP

There has been much debate about Ichiro's role on this team moving forward. Eric Wedge mentioned that Ichiro seeing more days off is something they could address in the near future. And that isn't just about his health and keeping him fresh, but it's about giving chances to Michael Saunders, Casper Wells and Franklin Gutierrez going forward. At age 38, Ichiro doesn't really figure into the organizations long range plans. I don't know how much he should figure into the organization's plans for next year with his contract being up. But I can't see a scenario where they don't sign him to at least a two year extension. The powers that be - the ones well above Jack Zduriencik will be making that decision.

Regardless of my thoughts, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and USS Mariners wrote a very thoughtful analysis of Ichiro's role moving forward with the Mariners.

From his blog post ...

At some point in July, the team is probably going to have to make a decision on how much Ichiro is going to play over the final two months of the season, and it should probably be less than he would like to play. And that means the team needs to figure this out ahead of time. The last time they had an aging former star who they wanted to move to a diminished role, it didn’t go very well, and the aftermath of the situation got Don Wakamatsu fired. You would imagine that the organization has learned from that debacle, and will attempt to communicate with Ichiro better, or at least make sure that the situation is transparent enough that they don’t come off as the bad guys if Ichiro doesn’t like his new role.

Because he has 10-and-5 rights, the team can’t trade Ichiro without his consent, and I’m sure Jack Zduriencik couldn’t trade Ichiro without ownership approval even if Ichiro agreed to a deal. So, it’s not nearly as simple as just saying “ship him to a contender”. But, it’s probably worth beginning the conversation with the necessary parties. If Ichiro wants to finish out the season on a contending team, that might be the best outcome for everyone, avoiding any potential ugliness if he ends up finishing his Mariner career as a part-time player. But if Ichiro doesn’t want to go anywhere – and given the cultural dynamics of living in a foreign country, his situation is quite a bit different than a typical players – then the team needs to figure out a plan that doesn’t end up in a PR disaster.

I’m sure they would have preferred if Ichiro would have just hit well and made all this a non-issue, but he hasn’t, and so now the question of how much Ichiro should play in the second half of the year is a legitimate question. They have room for him to play fairly regularly, but he probably shouldn’t be an everyday guy anymore, at least not on this team. And if he doesn’t want to change cities mid-season, that means that the organization needs to have a better plan than when they tried this with Ken Griffey Jr a couple of years ago.Ichiro does command a level of respect for what he's done in his career and like Dave writes, he does contribute in ways. But I think the Mariners are past the point of giving him carte blanche when it comes to his playing time and roles. But we will see how that plays out.

R.A. Dickey, once of the Seattle Mariners, improved to 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA with his second straight one-hitter last night.   He likely will and should start the All-Star Game in Kansas City. I know the sentiment of seeing players have success when they leave the Mariners. Back when the Mariners DFA'd Dickey in 2008, there wasn't much consternation.  Look at his numbers. He wasn't fantastic. He was about average and he would admit that. Much like the pitch he throws, there will be ups and downs. That's he had this much consistent success is a factor of him finding the right groove with that unpredictable pitch.