Jul 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki (31) celebrates with his new teammates after the final out of a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Ichiro Suzuki Trade: Yankees Acquire Mariners Icon

The New York Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki, one of the most popular players in Seattle Mariners history, in a stunning trade on Monday.

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Goldman: Ichiro's Best Days Behind Him (VIDEO)

Hot off the wires, here's Pinstripe Alley's Steven Goldman talking to Amy K. Nelson about Monday's blockbuster trade:

I can't argue with a single thing that Steve says here. Ichiro was a great player when he batted .350, a really good player when he batted .300, and just sort of around when he's batting .270, as he has since the beginning of 2011.

Change in scenery? Hey, you never know. But one can't count on a change of scenery helping a player, and particularly a player Ichiro's age who's actually been somewhat famous for his consistency, if not in performance then certainly when it comes to preparation and work habits. Are we really supposed to believe that Ichiro stopped hitting with the Mariners because he just wasn't enjoying himself any more?

That's possible, but there's no reason to believe it. Or to expect him to become a premier hitter again.


Ichiro Trade: This Is Clearly Going To Work Out For The Yankees

Ichiro Suzuki is on the Yankees now. He's old and not very good these days, but you can be sure this will work out for the Yankees somehow.


VIDEO: Ichiro Suzuki Singles vs. Mariners For First Yankees Hit

Ichiro Suzuki's first at-bat as a Yankee — he started in right field, wore Dave Winfield's old No. 31, and hit eighth — came against the Mariners. And his first hit came in it.

Ichiro, traded to the Yankees for minor leaguers earlier in the day, took a Kevin Millwood pitch back up the middle for a single to center in the top of the third for New York's second hit of the night. He immediately stole second base and moved over to third on a groundout by Russell Martin, but he perished on third thanks to another groundout by Derek Jeter.

Ichiro came back up in the top of the fourth, after the Yankees broke through for three runs, but popped up to second with two men on and one out.

Still, he was hitting .500 against the Mariners after his first two at-bats, which is a pretty good mark for a guy who had never faced them before!


Ichiro Trade: Examining The Prospects Sent Over By The Yankees

I wonder what kinds of names would have been involved in an Ichiro Suzuki trade after the 2004 season. We're talking big-time prospects. Delmon Young. Ian Stewart. Joel Guzman. Andy Marte. You know, franchise players. Instead, it's 2012 and Ichiro isn't the player he used to be, so the Yankees sent over two 25-year-old pitching prospects, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.

Mitchell was ranked the Yankees' #16 prospect before the 2012 season in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, and they wrote ...

Mitchell prefers to pound the bottom half of the zone with an 89-91 fastball and a solid slider more notable for getting grounders than swings-and-misses.

BA projects him as a middle reliever, though he has been a starter in the minors. His career stats:

Year Age Lev ERA IP HR BB SO
2009 22 A+-A 2.63 140.1 2 44 125
2010 23 AA-AAA 4.00 150.2 11 64 112
2011 24 AAA 3.18 161.1 10 63 112
2012 25 AAA 5.04 85.2 8 29 72
4 Seasons 3.56 538.0 31 200 421

Farquhar doesn't have quite the same prospect pedigree, as he wasn't included in the Prospect Handbook, but he does rank a solid 70 on the 20-to-80 interesting-transaction scale. He was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2008, traded to the A's for Rajai Davis, traded back to the Blue Jays for David Purcey, selected off waivers by the A's when the Blue Jays removed him from their 40-man roster in June, and then picked up off waivers by the Yankees just under a month ago.

The only thing I know about Danny Farquhar is that he prefers to go month-to-month with his apartments. His career stats:

Year Age Lev Aff ERA IP HR BB SO
2008 21 A--A TOR 1.95 32.1 1 8 31
2009 22 AA-A+ TOR 1.87 62.2 1 41 74
2010 23 AA TOR 3.52 76.2 7 42 79
2011 24 AAA TOR,OAK 4.07 59.2 4 21 52
2012 25 AA-AAA TOR,OAK,NYY 3.33 51.1 3 16 54
5 Seasons 3.06 282.2 16 128 290

Stone: Ichiro Suggested Trade 'Months Ago'

It came as quite a surprise to virtually everyone in the baseball community when Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees from the Seattle Mariners Monday afternoon for a pair of minor-league pitchers.

But according to national baseball writer Larry Stone, who has followed the Mariners and Ichiro closely for years, this deal has been in the works for some time:

Ichiro’s agent Tony Attanasio told me that Ichiro let Mariners know “months ago” that he was willing to be traded.

Stone further tweeted that Ichiro was doing it for the good of the team and its future:

Ichiro’s agent, Tony Attanasio: ““He knows that the club has to grow. He knows that the younger players need more playing time…”

The Mariners do need to rebuild, as they have not made the postseason since Ichiro’s rookie year of 2001, and have had just two winning seasons since 2003. This deal alone won’t accomplish that, but it shows the Mariners are beginning that process.

For more on the Mariners, please visit Lookout Landing and SB Nation Seattle.

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