Mariners Insider

Updated: Mariners trade Ichiro to the Yankees for two prospects

Post by Ryan Divish on July 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm with 32 Comments »
July 24, 2012 1:37 am
AP photo

One of the most recognizable figures in Seattle Mariners history is leaving the franchise.

The Mariners announced today that they  that they have acquired a pair of minor league prospects from the New York Yankees in exchange for right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Cash considerations are also included in this trade. Reports are that the Mariners will have to pay some of the money remaining on his $18 million salary this season.

“On behalf of our ownership group and everyone in the Seattle Mariners organization, I thank Ichiro for the great career he’s had here in Seattle,” Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said in a press release.  “Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his long time agent, Tony Attanasio, approached Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him. Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop.”

“When I imagined taking off a Mariners uniform, I was overcome with sadness. It was a very difficult decision to make,” Ichiro said through long-time translator Ken Baron. “When I spent time during the all-star break to think, I realized this team has many players in their early 20s. I began to think I should not be on this team next year when I thought about the future of this team. I also started to feel a desire to be in atmosphere that I could have different kind of stimulation I can have right now. If that was the case, it would be the best decision for both parties involved that I leave the team as soon as possible. Thank you to the Mariners organization for accepting my request.”

Oddly, Mariners fans will see Ichiro tonight in Seattle with the Yankees playing at Safeco Field. He is penciled into the Yankees lineup tonight batting ninth and in left field. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would like to talk with Ichiro first before finalizing the lineup.

“We feel he brings a speed element and a tremendous hitter,” Girardi said.

Girardi said the plan is for Ichiro to play left field mainly, while Nick Swisher will remain the starter in right field.

” I haven’t played left field in a long time,” Ichiro said. “The last time I played left field was in my first playoff game in Yankee Stadium.”

There were some reports that the Ichiro trade might be an early signal that the Mariners franchise – owned by the Japanese corporation, Nintendo – might be for sale. Lincoln said those rumors were “absolute nonsense.”

Clad in a sharp suit, Ichiro showed emotion that he hasn’t always shown in his time in Seattle

“I would like express my gratitude to the fans,” he said. “Thank you for the last 11  1/2 years. Starting in 2001, whether the team played well, or bad, whether I hit good or bad, I’m overcome with emotion when I think about my feelings during that time spent with the fans.”

The Mariners have received right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar from the Yankees. Mitchell (40-man) and Farquhar (non-40-man) will both report to AAA Tacoma. The Mariners 40-man roster remains full at 40.

Mitchell, 25, has spent most of the season pitching with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 6-4 with a 5.04 ERA (48 ER, 85.2 IP) in 15 games, 14 starts. He limited opponents to a .261 (85×326) average, while walking 29 and striking out 72. Mitchell made his Major League debut this season with New York on May 5 vs. Baltimore, allowing 2 hits and striking out 1 in 1.0 scoreless inning. He appeared in 4 games in relief, going 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA (2 ER, 4.2 IP) over two stints with the Yankees, April 29-May 4 and June 30-July 18.  Mitchell was originally selected by the Yankees in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He was rated the #16 prospect in the New York organization by Baseball America entering this season.

In four minor league season, Mitchell is 44-24 with a 3.56 ERA (213 ER, 538.0 IP) in 94 games, 87 starts. He has limited opponents to a .253 average (511×2019), while walking 200 and striking out 421.

Farquhar, 25, has split the 2012 season between the Toronto, Oakland and New York (AL) organizations. This season he has combined to go 2-3 with 5 saves and a 3.33 ERA (19 ER, 51.1 IP) with 54 strikeouts in 32 games, all in relief. He was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round of the 2008 June Amateur Draft out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

In five minor league seasons he is a combined 14-17 with 59 saves and a 3.06 ERA (96 ER, 282.2 IP) with 290 strikeouts in 280 relief appearances. He made his Major League debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, tossing 2.0 innings in three appearances.

Ichiro, 38, is a 10-time American League All-Star who tops the Mariners franchise in hits, runs scored, triples and at-bats.  He was the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in 2001, his first for the Mariners after nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of Japan’s Pacific League.

After leading the Pacific League in batting and winning Gold Gloves during all seven of his full seasons, Ichiro became the first position player to play and succeed in the United States. He led the American League in batting average twice and the Major Leagues in hits seven times (tying Ty Cobb and Pete Rose for the most all-time). His 10 consecutive seasons (2001-2010) with 200 or more hits is also a Major League record, including a record 262 hits in 2004. The rightfielder owns a long list of Mariners club records as well as all-time MLB marks.

Internationally, Ichiro was instrumental in two World Baseball Classic titles won by Japan in 2006 and 2009. He is now in the final season of a five-year agreement, currently batting .261 with 4 home runs, 28 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases.

Listen to the Ichiro press conference:

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. Well, well, well…is the the best deal they could of made? It doesnt make much sense in my book! We are lacking hitting…and we trade for two pitching prospects??? What gives? It doesn’t help our struggling offense at home. I think management could have done better. I rate this trade a D. It would be an F…but at least we got something for the aging vet. Best of all…we cleared some payroll!

    Now…let’s get off our butts and get us some hitters for the future.

  2. ena85737 says:

    Say it ain’t so…!

  3. GaryEWash says:

    IN retrospect, I will not remember Ichiro for his poor season this year and last. The Ichiro I will remember is the fella that patrolled area 51 for the first 10 years. The flashy defensive outfielder that blew everyone away with THE throw in Oakland, the fella that set the record for the most hits in a season. That is the Ichiro that I will remember. Farewell young man, you gave us all some excitement when it was most needed.

  4. gonefishin69690 says:

    GaryEWash, I remember how he “Woke up” all the fielders and 1st basemen his first year. Remember all the errors other teams committed trying to gun him down at first? He really put the hustle to 1st base back into the game of baseball. Before him, runners would hit a grounder to SS and “trot” to first base to “collect” their out. Ichiro changed that (back to how I was taught to play back in the day)

  5. GaryEWash says:

    AAAYUP! It was great, Was being the operative word. So finally, the Edgar, Junior, RJ, and Bone era is done. Everyone that was here then is gone. Time to start anew, and I for one look forward to it. To those who whine that we are the farm team for the Yanks, or that
    Seattle sucks as a sports town, this is for you. THZZZZZP! Get over it. Better days are ahead, things will come in their own time. We are no ones farm team, Bavasi ruined this team and it takes time to recover from that. We have some young talent, some will pan out, some will not. There will be some surprises both good and bad, but I will stay the course as always. I am a baseball fan and understand the game, I feel sorry for those of you that expect to win all the time, and are not satisfied with anything less. You are missing so very much.

  6. Thoughts: Now I know why Wedge said he wouldn’t have dared pitch Ichiro the other night.

    I’m no Yankee fan–quite the contrary–but I’ll be pulling for Ichiro to carry his share of the load. He won’t play if he doesn’t. One of my cherished theories–that better hitters around a player make him a better hitter–is about to get tested.

    I’ve grown incredibly tired of the complaining and namecalling regarding Ichiro. Soon there’ll be no more of that, thank goodness. Folks will have to find new targets, or shoot more often at the others who have been taking flak. (Stand by, Figgy.) It’s a new era.

    Finally, I hope Harold Reynolds took Ichiro’s jibe in good nature. Everybody was smiling, but that wasn’t cool.

  7. cylhentz says:

    Another brilliant move by a professional sports team’s management. *Sigh*

  8. truthbusterguy says:

    I hope he goes to the NYY and bats 500. Mariners=losers

    Why can’t any Seattle team win??? We are the political and sports laughing stock of the country.

  9. Let Ichiro go! We do not invest in a single player. We invest in T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieve Mission). The next question is what do we get out of Ichero (Return Investment); in this case what kind of players are we getting for trading him?

    NY Yankees known in buying players. The slap in the face he might play tonight. Imagine that? lol

  10. family_man says:

    I am so excited by this move (the only thing I agree I don’t understand is why we couldn’t have gotten two hitting prospects – even if they didn’t pan out at least that addresses a need – but Z always says in the draft you take the best you can – not the need so that keeps to his philsophy) I’m happy for Ichiro because it gives them a chance to win a championship. This will be the only year I root for the Evil Empire. I’m also excited for the chance it gives our young guys, plus it takes all the negitive talk off Ichiro for our team and lets us focus on the rebuilding completely.
    We got two players for what is a 3 month rental – I give this a B.

  11. FuriousGeorge says:

    The chance to retire a champion although it seems stupid to get rid of the reason for 1/2 of ticket sales. Better find a new Asian quick!

  12. Who was the doofus at the press conference with his hat on indoors? It is no surprise the nimrod was part of the Mariner TV-Radio staff. Where was Angie and Adam, looking for the key to the batter’s box?

  13. Sisay: You are a true Mariner’s fan! You couldn’t even get the “Together Everyone Achieves More” correct. The Mariner will always be also-rans. Almost everyone they trade goes to a team that wins the Series (Yankees, Phillies, et cetera ……). The people that need to be dealt are Lincoln and Armstrong.

  14. Palerydr says:

    I, unlike many others here, have respect for what Ichiro did while here. I have been down on him of late only because I felt he could be doing better. I wish he had been more of a vocal leader instead of one who lead by example. Hopefully being around so many other all star caliber players will bring out the best of whatever is left of him. I’m no fan of the Yankees however if they do go all the way this year I will enjoy watching one of the best Mariners ever to play the game of baseball. Side note 2 of the top 5 all time home run hitters started as Mariners Arod and the Kid.

  15. ” Reports are that the Mariners will have to pay some of the money remaining on his $18 million salary this season.”

    I’m confused. The #1 reason to trade Ichiro is to unload the salary. How much money are we paying the Yankees? That really turns the deal sour for me.

  16. I assume this would mean our everyday outfield for the immediate future is Wells LF, Saunders CF & Peguero RF?

  17. From a national board,

    “NY Post’s Joel Sherman tweeted,

    I have learned that the #Yankees will pay just more than $2M of what is left on Ichiro’s salary”

    If true, I really don’t get this.

    Now watch the M’s re-sign Ichiro after the season.

  18. bbnate420 says:

    It’s FUNNY how this move brings a bunch of losers that never post here to post some loser comments.
    This move gives me MUCH more respect for Ichiro, if the story is true about him approaching the team and telling them to consider trading him. I loved him as a player here for 11 years but, he has lost a step and he had no place in the current situation of this team even if he hadn’t! I wish him the best. Honestly, I hope he gets a WS with the Yankees this year, provided a COMPLETE MIRACLE doesn’t happen and the M’s win it.

    This move gives me a LITTLE more hope for the future with the IDIOTS running the team, HOPEFULLY only currently. Bilbo, you’re next buddy!

  19. bbnate420 says:

    moo, I don’t think they resign him now. God, I hope I’m right. I think he didn’t have much value, DUH, but they got a couple of potential players and primed the fan base for the future. BRAVO!

  20. bbnate420 says:

    $ man rotation of FG, Wells, Saunders, and Peguero when Guti comes back. They can get them all significant playing time.

  21. littleshawtyduece says:

    he requested the trade u morons below

  22. Misunderestimated says:

    Thank you Ichiro for so many wonderful memories.
    God’s speed and good luck with your new adventure in New York.
    I do hope you win a ring, a fine finish to an exceptional career.
    Now I look forward to the M’s using this additional outfield position to let our young players actually play and grow.
    I want to see Casper Wells every day, along with Saunders and Paguero. We are two years away from a great team if we show just a little patience.

  23. whatthehell says:

    good. i cudnt take his insane batting ritual anymore holdng the stick u p and tugging on his gd sleeve all the times..what nute

  24. All the best players always go to the Yankees. Its all about money. We think its all about the game but they, the people who make the decisions, think its all about money. And they have the power and we don’t. Who can say this wasn’t expected?

  25. Does anyone know what decision they made with Carp? Shannon Dreyer’s blog states they had to do something today.

  26. At least we could’ve gotten a bag of balls and a few cans of dip from the Yankees. Get something useful out of the deal besides two mediocre AAA pitchers.

  27. southhillliberal says:

    They should have got a really good .300+ hitter, in addition to the pitchers, since one has 5.04 ERA in triple A, and will probably languish in Tacoma for the rest of his career. The yankees have an endless amount of money and prospects. They got the better of us, but are you really surprised? We are pretty stupid.

  28. HeinieHunter says:

    CEO Howard Armstrong? Even the people writing about this pathetic team are little league! Does anyone read the copy before it goes online?

  29. This thread…unbelievable. With 2,533 hits in under 12 years, he could have gone through the dance of the whooping cranes before every pitch for all I care. You won’t see a ten-time (straight!) all star and gold glove in right field again either. Batting ritual…phooey.

    I was invited to the game last minute. Not my favorite experience. Yankee dislike, pulling for Ichiro to have a good showing, more strongly wanting the M’s to win, danged A-Rod hits a homer under a cloud of boos–surreal. A lot of little kids in Seattle are going to bed confused tonight.

    I’m wondering what Friday’s game is going to be like. Bought my own ticket for that one a while back. Not feeling inspired after what I saw from the M’s this evening.

    One more comment. I see a couple of expressions of concern that Ichiro may be re-signed. If I understood his press conference remarks correctly, that’s highly unlikely. He’s right to leave, and he’d be wrong to return. Doing the right things for the right reasons.

  30. HeinieHunter says:

    It was interesting to see Ichiro in the Yankee dugout with ARod, Raoul Ibanez, and Freddy Garcia. The Mariners are a farm team for the Yankees.

    Oh, by the way, Smoak (the blue chipper that Jack Z traded Cliff Lee for) was shipped back to Tacoma tonight. The “rebuilding project” just hiccuped badly. Ackley should also be there. Before seasons end, Wedge will be fired (scapegoat) and Jack Z will be wearing thin with his talent evaluation problems. The M’s will rack up yet another 95 loss season, but wait until NEXT year!!!

    wake up fans, the ownership is cheap! It’s only interested in young players because the can be had on the cheap. No super star free agents are headed this way! Ever! Lincoln and Armstromg only hire “Yes Men” under them that won’t question their decisions. No more Lou Pinellas allowed, he voiced his opinions.

    Keep drinking the kool aid Mariner fans…. You won’t see a winning team but every night is another bobble head extravaganza!

  31. I’ts been changed Larry

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