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Mariners GM expects to re-sign impending free agent Ichiro Suzuki despite declining production

Jul 16, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Ichiro Suzuki Getty Images

Ichiro Suzuki is a 38-year-old impending free agent having the worst season of his brilliant career, hitting .258 with a .286 on-base percentage and .345 slugging percentage, but Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik made it very clear that he has no plans to trade the outfielder and in fact expects to re-sign him for next season.

“He’s going to be a Mariner,” Zduriencik told Jon Morosi of “We intend to keep him. I’m telling you, he’s going to be a Mariner. He’s a big part of this team. He’s a franchise player here, and we have phenomenal respect for him.”

Suzuki presumably feels the same way about wanting to remain in Seattle, but he turns 39 in October and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s willing to take a significant pay cut from his current $17 million salary. Not only isn’t he worth anywhere near that kind of money at this point, Suzuki has declined to the point that he’s one of the worst hitters in the league.

Dating back to the beginning of last season he’s hit .267 with a .301 on-base percentage and .339 slugging percentage in 249 games, producing a .640 OPS that ranks 125th out of the 129 players to appear in at least 200 games during that time.

It’s tough to blame the Mariners for not wanting to cut ties with Suzuki, but the only way that makes any kind of objective, on-field sense for them is if he takes a massive pay cut to finish his career in Seattle.

  1. number42is1 - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Otherwise known as Derek Jeter syndrome.

  2. shawnuel - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Today, in the local rag, Zduriencik backs off that statement a bit.

  3. hushbrother - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    My God that would be stupid. Haven’t the Mariners learned that having an anemic offense leads to losing lots of games, and that at this point Ichiro does nothing to make an offense un-anemic?

  4. yahmule - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    I always hear about how management in baseball is coldhearted and ruthless, but then I see guys like Todd Helton and Ichiro getting rewarded with huge sentiment based contracts.

  5. sdpaulson - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Well of course Jack will resign him. Jack’s bosses, Lincoln and Armstrong (the two most inept baseball minds ever), will see he does or they’ll fire him. The fact is Seattle, we will NEVER be relevant in baseball untill new ownership fires those two. Till then we will continue to field a triple A development camp…… and I won’t buy a ticket!

  6. APBA Guy - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    The Mariners derive a lot of revenue from the Japanese market, in large part because of Ichiro’s continued popularity there. Since the owner is Japanese, it’s no surprise that Ichiro will be offered a new deal. The terms of the deal are important of course. The Mariners are terrible unless the King is pitching. About 20 of their players are roughly replacement level, and Ichiro is one of them.

  7. sawxalicious - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I think Ichiro is huge for Mariners marketing/merchandising, especially in Japan. Even though putting him on the field every day makes absolutely no baseball sense, it probably makes perfect business sense…and MLB is first and foremost a business.

  8. antlerclaws - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    If they could get Yu Darvish to pitch to him every time he’d be fine. For some reason, Ichiro and the Mariners own Darvish.

  9. hojo20 - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Who is more overpaid…..Ichiro or Jeremy Lin?

    • thehollar - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      Ichiro. Next easy question, please.

  10. marinersnate - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    “Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik made it very clear that he has no plans to trade the outfielder”

    Ichiro has 5/10 rights and would have to approve any trade.

    Also, after his last few efforts, I highly question Zduriencik’s ability to make competent trades.

  11. spudatx - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Without question the Mariners will re-sign Ichiro.

    Don’t forget what sort of money this guy makes the Mariners by wearing that jersey. He is unique. He, like no one else, sells incredibly well in Japan. Sure, Darvish has probably out-sold him in the last year in Japan, but as Ichiro nears 3000 hits and Hall of Fame balloting, Darvish is doubtful continue to be the bigger seller.

    The Mariners aren’t focused on making the playoffs in the near future. They’re focused on making money (and maybe building for the future).

  12. jon623 - Jul 17, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    For the love of all that is good, Seattle, pull your head out of that dark smelly place where the sun doesn’t shine. I am a Mariners fan above all else, and I LOVE Ichiro – my first ever live baseball game was a Mariner’s vs. A’s game at Safeco Field in 2001 the day after my 11th birthday during Ichiro’s first MLB Season, and Safeco Field’s first season as well – but sometimes you have to let things go. Ichiro’s production has been terrible, and is really sad to watch. Seattle baseball has been nothing short of a farm team for the rest of the league for years. I love Ichiro, but more than Ichiro, I love the Mariners and want to see them WIN a little.

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