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Ichiro Suzuki will have to swallow his pride to fit with Yankees

Jul 23, 2012, 7:44 PM EDT

Ichiro Getty Images

The Mariners were always nervous about making changes with Ichiro Suzuki. It took them several years to try him in center field, and when they finally moved him from the leadoff spot this year, they gave him plenty of notice to see how he’d react.

Now, with Monday’s trade to the Yankees, Ichiro’s world is about to be turned upside down.

In New York, Ichiro will have to…

1. Give up his No. 51

2. Play left field most of the time

3. Hit lower in a lineup than ever before

Taking the first of those, technically Bernie Williams’ No. 51 isn’t retired in the Bronx, though it hasn’t been handed out since he retired. It’s a given that it’s only a matter of time until it is retired, and thus, Ichiro isn’t going to try to lay claim to it.

The other two are on-field issues. Ichiro has never played left field in a regular-season game, though he indicated that he is agreeable to it. It will be more interesting to see how he handles hitting at the bottom of the order. At today’s press conference, manager Joe Girardi said he wanted to talk to Ichiro about the lineup before making any announcements. Odds are that Ichiro is going to hit ninth most of the time, just like Brett Gardner did before he got hurt.

That’s going to be a lot for Ichiro to deal with, and it may challenge him, given the amount of pride he’s displayed in his Hall of Fame career. The fact that it is the Yankees could make a difference. Ichiro certainly wouldn’t have been happy batting ninth and playing left field for the Mariners and maybe not any other team. However, he clearly has a lot of respect for the pinstripes, maybe for Joe Girardi, too. It really is a good fit for him, and if he can make the most of it over these next couple of months, he’ll be in much greater demand this winter than he would have been otherwise.

  1. number42is1 - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    seeing as how he could have vetoed any trade its probably safe to assume that this was all discussed ahead of time

    • IdahoMariner - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM

      And the pride he has shown is pride in his game and doing his freakin best every damn year, no matter what crappy team they have surrounded him with. I imagine he’s happy as a clam.

    • IdahoMariner - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM

      Go to shannon Drayer’s column for a glimpse of the true guy, non-diva…

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        Excellent article. Thanks for the link.

      • bklynbaseball - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        Wow. Great article. Thanks.

    • skids003 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      He is a class act, always has been. I hope he gets another chamionship, even if it is with the hated Yankees.

  2. joechianese - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    He prob doesn’t mind, it’s a good chance at a ring

  3. vallewho - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    1 derek jeter
    2 curtis granderson
    3 robinson cano
    4 alex rodriguez
    5 mark texieira
    6 andruw jones
    7 raul ibanez
    8 russel martin
    9 ichiro

    • vallewho - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      But would not mind seeing :

      1 ichiro
      2 derek jeter
      2 curtis granderson
      4 alex rodriguez
      5 robinson cano
      6 mark texieira
      7 raul ibanez
      8 andruw jones
      9 russel martin

      • Kevin S. - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        No, why wouldn’t you mind a sub-.300 OBP guy leading off?

      • vallewho - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        hopeing that he can get his ishhhh together.

    • vallewho - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      Looks like he’ll be in the 8th hole tonight.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:06 PM

        He is batting 8th tonight, Martin is 9th

    • badintent - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:09 AM

      @Kevin S

      Because he can steal bases, Jeter can’t, no more. When the pitcher is distracted by Ichiro, he doesn’t pitch as well as he might to Granderson or A-Rod, so more HRs ! Next question son.

      • slackerkeith - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:13 AM

        It’s hard to steal bases if you ain’t on base, chief.

      • badintent - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM


        Ichiro did exactly what I told him to do.. single and steal. Watch and learn , watch and learn more with my video with Kim K.

  4. carlosologist - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Ichiro, who had a NTC and went to the owner to request a trade, totally has to swallow his pride. What was the point of this post?

  5. randygnyc - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    This trade has been in the works for a “few weeks” according to Sweeny Murti.

    Ichiro knows he’s now a small Koi in a big pond now and will act accordingly.

    • madhatternalice - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM

      And thus the racist jokes begin. We knew it’d be you, Randy…

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        Right wing NUTS and racism: so good together.

      • skids003 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

        I know this is a shock to you jimee, but liberals are worse racists than conservatives, it’s just that you like to throw that out whenever it suits you, and the media runs with it. That perception is totally liberal driven, and more and more people are realizing it. So go play your little cards elsewhere.

      • madhatternalice - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Actually, skids, if you’ve been following Randy’s ideology here, you know he’s as right wing as they come…

      • skids003 - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        Actually madhatter, I know that; however, it doesn’t change the fact that the liberals are the first to play that card against anyone who doesn’t agree with them. And it is still a media driven perception.

      • madhatternalice - Jul 26, 2012 at 5:22 PM

        Skids, what? Apples and oranges, bro. Are you trying to stir up trouble? We had a whole nice thing going, blasting Randy the Idiot, and you had to come in and throw a straw argument down.

        What does “liberals are the first to play that card against anyone who doesn’t agree with them?” mean? What sort of facts back up this silly allegation?

        Oh wait, I forgot. It’s the internet. You can yell as loud as you want from behind your handle, and no one can force you to tell the truth, or be factual. Got it.

  6. rhmurphy - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Why not Swisher in left and Ichiro in right? Better defense that way anyway

    • vallewho - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      because Swish can’t really cover Yankee Stadium’s LF.

  7. number42is1 - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    swish is gonna be traded

    • bigharold - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      Snap out of it.

  8. dunkindan - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    uhhh you missed the part about him having to shave his face…

  9. no1yanks28 - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Raul and andrew will platoon ar DH, swisher will be either starting left/right fielder. Dont wanna burn the old men out playing in the field when you have 30 homer power with swish

  10. roseann894 - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    WHY must every very good player must be declared a Hall of Famer in every reference to him, by the media, before he has even retired? I was a huge Ichiro fan when he first arrived but honestly what has he done in the second half of his career to warrant such fawning? Sorry, simply compiling singles doesn’t do it for this curmudgeon.

    • Reflex - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      Does it for me however. Until the past year and a half he’s been elite. He’s in his decline phase, like almost every other late 30’s player.

      • jon623 - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:27 PM

        Right there with you. It’s not just “compiling singles,” it’s getting on base, stealing, having lightning speed, being a complete beast in the outfield and having a canon for an arm.

    • IdahoMariner - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM

      Yeah, was watching the game… Graphic showed Ichiro saving 12 runs so far this season on defense, with the Yankee outfield in negative numbers. His defense is still amazing. And the Yankees scored at least one run tonight because his replacement in right field is no Ichiro, that’s for sure.

      • badintent - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:14 AM

        Thank you. Couldn’t have said it any better. I do hope the hopeless that blog here do learn how baseball is played, not all about 3 run Hrs. Didn’t roseann 894 screw up the national song too. ?? she’s playing with her nuts now.

  11. spudatx - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Was this article about Ichiro or a 12 year old girl? I’ve never seen an article written before with such concern over an MLB player’s feelings about where they hit in the lineup or what their number is. If he’s really that sensitive, I’d be surprised. And, don’t play the “it’s a culture thing” line. It ain’t.

  12. uspoika - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    ive never seen an article on here by this guy thats ever been worth anything.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      Fine, then stop reading his articles and stop posting on them. Please.

  13. randygnyc - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Dewayne Wise DFA

  14. exibitsman - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    I think ichrio should be batting
    second behind jeters.!!!!!!!

    • hondoheaven47 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      Behind Jeter’s what?

      • gmsingh - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:04 AM

        Huge ego.

  15. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 23, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    terrible trade for the Yankees, this guy is finished as a everyday player and at this point is nothing more then a late inning defensive replacement\pinch runner. The only good thing is thank god he is only a 2 month rental and hopefully he doesnt cause any crap in the clubhouse like he was known for in seattle. bad move cashman!!!

    • doctorfootball - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      You’re so wrong. Ichiro, even in this down year, is hitting 261. He’s still got speed and a strong arm for the outfield. The Yanks gave up almost nothing for him. And, in the Yankees lineup, he’ll see much better pitches to hit. Whether he does well or not, the Yanks lose nothing. But if he does well, then the move is huge for the Yanks. So how in the world is this a bad move? It’s not.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM

        so wrong? what are you smoking? guy has zero power, doesnt get on base at ALL. I mean look at that .261 average, its the most empty looking .261 you are ever going to see. This guy is the worst hitter in the bigs this year, all he is at this point is a late inning defensive replacement and a pinch runner. Sorry but his numbers dont lie and the last 2 seasons he’s been flat out terrible

      • IdahoMariner - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        Also, he’s just fine in the clubhouse. He just does his job, doesn’t sit around watching tv and playing cards like the others, he’s actually trying to get better. Still.

    • mgflolox - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:54 AM

      Ichiro’s road numbers are a fairly respectable 297/314/402. Combined with his defense and baserunning, he can still be an asset. He might also show more power playing in Yankee 2.0.

  16. davemac32001 - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    This trade is a few years to late – Ichiro shouldn’t even be starting. He hasn’t been a league-average producer in the field in at least two years. Really, he’s a defensive sub and pinch runner at this point in his career. There’s no way he should be an every day player on a championship club – no matter where he bats in the lineup.

    • doctorfootball - Jul 23, 2012 at 10:15 PM

      He’s going to platoon with Jones and Ibanez. Great move by Cashman. They gave up little and got a potentially terrific player. It’s a win/win.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

        ichiro has never been “terrific” at any point in his MLB career, its not going to start now

      • cur68 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:52 AM

        You know nothing about baseball. Nothing at all.

      • davemac32001 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:27 AM

        Terrific player? His career OPS is .784 and his OPS+ is 113. These are decent numbers – a little above average at the plate. Not terrific though – even at his best. Ichiro has NEVER… not once… had an OPS+ that ranked int he top ten in MLB. Not even one time. Even Milton Bradley has made that list.

        So, at his best, Ichiro was a great defensive player who could really fly and hit singles. He contributed to the offense. But, he’s not that player any more. His OPS+ is 84 this year after an 83 last year. Among qualified outfielders, Ichiro ranks last in the AL – just behind Frenchy in KC. When you expand that to all of MLB, he comes out ahead of Brian Bogusevic, Jordan Schafer and Cameron Maybin. That’s awful. This kind of “production” can be easily replaced by an average bench player in the AL.

        Sorry if you don’t like the numbers… I didn’t make ’em up…

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:52 AM

        ok cur68 thinks a singles hitter who doesnt walk and has zero power is terrific. I guess you would have to after all you are a fan of the jays so i can understand why you might think this is terrific. Idiot

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        You mean the Jays who SWEPT the Red Sox out of Fenway? That’s not saying much since the Red Sox suck this year.

  17. badintent - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I suppose breaking the single season hits record (256 ! ) and 10 gold gloves plus 30 stolen bases a year means nothing, plus a .325 batting average over his career means nothing….. stick to hockey, , those head shots are taking their toll. Next time you can tell all of us how great Robin Deer was hitting 200 But slamming 30 hrs a year made him a great baller.yeah right.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      From 2001 to 2010, Ichiro Suzuki finished in the top 20 in the annual Most Valuable Player Voting, winning the MVP in 2001 when he led the league in batting average, stolen bases, hits, and plate appearances. With a career batting average of .322, he has led the league in games played 4 times, including 2010 and 2011. He won gold gloves from 2001 to 2010, and has been in the top 5 in stolen bases every year he’s been in the league. He currently leads the American League in at bats and triples. Ichiro has consistently been a top performer.

      Anybody who says Ichiro Suzuki has not been a terrific player is one ignorant loser, probably and east coast asshole, and definitely not a knowledgeable baseball fan.

      • skids003 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:05 PM

        I agree jimme, he’s been great; however, your way of blasting people who don’t agree with you is a little over the top. Don’t liberals know how to compromise?

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