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Six thoughts on the Ichiro trade


By Brock Huard

In Peter King’s popular Monday Morning Quarterback
column, he always finds 10 things he thinks he thinks.

I can’t find a better way to explain the enigmatic
Ichiro and the news that broke Monday afternoon about his trade than to
utilize King’s choice of words. After all, Ichiro has been
so guarded in his dozen years in Seattle that no one
really knows what makes him tick or what led him to
initiate the trade to the Evil Empire. In honor of the
future Hall of Famer and 10-time All Star, I present my
five things I think I think and one thing I know we
learned from the move made Monday.

Ichiro will not be
expected to take on a leadership role with the Yankees,
who are loaded with productive veterans like outfielder
Curtis Granderson.

• I think I think Ichiro is so much better
suited as an Indian than in the role of chief that he was
thrust into in Seattle. Ichiro is not built to lead, but
unfortunately he was paid $18 million a year (nearly 25
percent of the Mariners’ payroll) and whether he was
equipped to lead or not, the role and responsibility fell
on his shoulders.

• I think I think Ichiro earned respect from even
his biggest critics by taking his shot to chase a World
Series ring. I also think the Mariners got almost nothing
in return, a reminder that Ichiro, at his stage of his
career, had very little value on the market. Further, in
order to get players of significance and impact, an
organization has to be willing to deal its most prized
assets, not 30-somethings past their prime.

• I think I think it’s far too early to connect
this move to an impending ownership change, but the
organization got out ahead of what would have been an even
messier divorce in the offseason. This saves the endless
speculation from lasting all winter.

• I think I think Ichiro will improve upon his
current .261/.288/.353 numbers in the bandbox in New York
City while playing a schedule laden with games in the
American League East’s hitter-friendly parks down the
stretch. Further, the Yanks in four hours were able to do
what the Mariners couldn’t do in two years, and that is
hit Ichiro where he needed to hit: eighth.

• I think I think in time we will appreciate
Ichiro’s gifts more than we do today. Father Time’s
unwavering ways have illuminated Ichiro’s deficiencies.

• Finally, the one thing I know is that this move
had to be made. In order to truly evaluate the hand the
Mariners are attempting to play with their youth movement,
the remaining 60 games need to be spent with Michael
Saunders, Casper Wells, Franklin Gutierrez and crew
playing every day.

Ichiro is not part of the future, his best days are
part of the past, and his present role was making
everyone’s job more difficult from ownership, to
management, to manager and to a clubhouse he couldn’t
relate to.

We wondered a week ago what Ichiro meant when he spoke
to Yahoo! Sports about “the pain” he was feeling. I think
I think I just figured it out.