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Not only would this be incredibly refreshing after a dismal season offensively for both Ichiro and the Mariners, but it would also inject some needed energy into the batting order for 2012.
Often, when we speak of a player regressing, it is a change for the worse. In Ichiro's case, however, if he were to regress, his average would be back up in the league leaders' category, and he would be generating close to 100 runs.
There is a chance that last season was an indication of Ichiro's decline in baseball, but there is also a chance that it was a fluke.
With either possibility, however, we have to accept that as the man ages, he will lose a step—which, for Ichiro, means fewer infield hits. Since infield hits are actually a significant part of his production, a change to his approach at the plate should be considered.
Instead of slotting Ichiro at leadoff where he will get lots of hits and not very many walks, drop him down to the three spot, where he can open up his swing and add some pop.
Chicks who dig home runs aren't the ones who appeal to me. I think there's sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I'd rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out. -New York Times
Anyone who has watched Ichiro in batting practice knows he can launch them out of the park on a whim. That shift may require an adjustment period, but if manager Eric Wedge wants to make the move, he will likely have Ichiro there during spring training.
From the three spot, Ichiro could keep his average up with his ability to get the bat on the ball, but he could also provide a power asset in the Mariners' currently lacking lineup.
Is this bold? Very. But it is also possible.