A historic era in Seattle ended on Monday when Ichiro Suzuki was shockingly traded to the New York Yankees. Ichiro was a franchise legend for the Mariners. He came over to Seattle from Japan in 2001 when he was 27 and led the league in hits, batting average, and stolen bases. He won Rookie of the Year and MVP, a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award, and became an All-Star. He made the All-Star team 10 straight times and led the AL in hits seven times.
But the Mariners, which made four playoff appearances from 1995-2001, lost much more with Ichiro than they won. After leading MLB with 116 wins in 2001, the Mariners never made it back to the postseason. They finished last in the AL West six of the next 10 seasons, and the losing had worn on Suzuki. Feeling that the rebuilding Mariners would be better served dealing him for prospects, and desiring to play for a winner, Ichiro approached the Mariners during the All-Star break to ask for a trade.
The Mariners obliged and dealt him to the Yankees on Monday for pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. Seattle fans are frustrated with the deal; not only are the Mariners paying part of the $6.7 million remaining on Suzuki’s salary, but they only got back two middling prospects in return. What’s worse is that both prospects were pitchers and that doesn’t even address the Mariners’ dreadful offense.
Mariners executives said they wanted to give Ichiro a chance to play for a contender before his career ends. They did that by dealing him to the Yankees who have the best record in MLB. And thanks to a three-game series between the teams, Suzuki didn’t have to travel to join his new club.