San Diego, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
It was once thought Ichiro would never leave Seattle for another MLB team. Now he's headed to the bright lights of New York City.
Since 2001, Ichiro Suzuki has been synonymous with the Seattle Mariners. The first significant position player signed from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Japanese major leagues, he made an instant impact in MLB; he was named American League Rookie of the Year and MVP in that first season and the Mariners won an American League record 116 games.
Now, at 37, Ichiro has slowed down for the last season and a half, but not so much that he wasn't desired by another team. Monday afternoon, Ichiro Suzuki has been traded to the New York Yankees:
Career-wise, Ichiro has hit .322/.366/.418 with 2,533 hits and 438 stolen bases, along with 10 straight 200-hit seasons, although since the beginning of the 2011 season he's hit a significantly-lower .268/.302/.342, and appears to be reaching the end of his illustrious major-league career. Two years ago, you'd never have seen Ichiro traded for pitchers like Danny Farquhar (who's been waived twice this season) and D.J. Mitchell, a former 10th-round draft pick with an undistinguished minor-league career.
But this is 2012, not 2001 or 2003, and time marches on for every player. Not even someone who appeared as invincible as Ichiro Suzuki can play forever. Ichiro's contract expires at the end of this season and he'll head to free agency; who knows whether, or where, he'll play in 2013.