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I just don't buy it.
He certainly appeared to lose a step in the outfield, but for all those who want to attribute his struggles at the plate just to his age I would direct your attention to the 66-point drop in BABIP he suffered last year.
If you look through his career, his BABIP matched up pretty well with his overall performance. When he got his share of "luck" his numbers were through the roof. When he got a little "unlucky" he was considered to have a "down" year. This is entirely reasonable, and holds true for most players.
So with last year being an "unlucky" year, Ichiro's slash line dropped to .272/.310/.335 with just five home runs and 47 RBI. To be fair, there weren't a whole lot of guys on base for him to drive in, so the RBI number is essentially meaningless.
What I do find interesting, however, are his power numbers.
For his career Ichiro has slugged .421. Last year his slugging percentage plummeted to .335, his lowest ever by over 50 points.
Here's a suggestion that nobody has brought up, but which seems an entirely feasible explanation for last year's performance. Confidence. Plain old garden variety confidence.
Think about it. More balls getting caught. More balls getting hit straight at fielders. The batting average drops, the questions start.
Bad luck = less confidence = more singles, less power.
More bad luck = more singles getting turned into outs.
Less confidence = noticeably worse fielding performance.
Ichiro has been thought of as a robot, immune to the emotional aspects of the game that affect other players, but perhaps he is human after all.
Think about this. Even with his career worst year, Ichiro had 76 more hits than anybody else on the team and stole three times as many bases as the second place finisher.
Will Ichiro bounce back next year? I have every confidence.