MLB Trades 2012: Why Trading Ichiro Suzuki Was Healthy for the Seattle Mariners
The Japanese star overstayed his welcome in a Mariners uniform, simply because he doesn't fit in with what the organization is trying to do: rebuild for the future and not cling to a successful past that once had a 116-win season.
His numbers have been steadily declining over the years, but this season, he's hitting career lows in many categories by a long shot.
With a career line of .322/.366/.418, Ichiro is having an off-year by Ichiro standards, batting .261/.288/.356, with career lows in hits, doubles and RBIs.
But what stands out are his walks and stolen base totals. Prior to this season, Ichiro's career lows in each of these categories were 26 and 30 respectively.
In 2012, he has 17 walks and 18 stolen bases.
Granted, he hasn't had as many chances to steal bases since he no longer bats leadoff, but the fact is Ichiro is getting visibly older every season.
There's no excuse for his walk total dropping so drastically. He's been swinging at terrible pitches and his plate discipline isn't what it used to be.
Although batting third is usually a power position, it was more of a demotion for him than anything.
In 2011, his wins above replacement was a mere 0.3. In 2012, it's at 1.3. Prior to that, his career low was 3.3.
That above all might be his most significant statistic.
It's difficult for us not to imagine Ichiro as anything but an All-Star, a sensational defender and the man who holds the single-season hits record.
That being said, he's a far cry from what he used to be.
For now, the Mariners should be glad Ichiro moved across the country, mainly because it gives other guys on the club a chance to make a name for themselves, and a chance to finally move on from the hangover that's been lingering for years.
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