Ichiro’s mindset further complicates a delicate situation

Jul 20, 2012, 4:21 PM | Updated: 4:47 pm

By Brady Henderson

Ichiro sounds like he wants to continue his career with the Mariners but is aware that his desire to remain in Seattle won’t mean much if the team doesn’t feel the same way.

That’s what Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan told “Brock and Salk” on Friday when he joined the show to talk about what he gleaned from his recent interview with the Mariners’ right fielder, whose contract is set to expire after this season.

Ichiro, 38, is struggling offensively for the second straight season, hitting nearly 60 points below his career average. Bringing him back at $18 million a season – or anything close to that – seems unjustifiable given his waning production.

Ichiro may realize that it’s a two-way street. But, Passan said, he might not realize his own limitations at this stage of his career – and that has the potential to damage his 12-year relationship with the Mariners.

“Athletes believe what athletes believe, and when you’ve been as good as Ichiro was for a really long time, it’s troublesome trying to accept that you’re never going to be at that level again, and so you want to get paid like somebody at that level. And that’s where you run into these problems,” he said.

“It’s a matter of this, very simply: are the Mariners willing to hurt the feelings of a guy who, for close to a decade, was their best player? And that’s a tough thing to do. It’s tough to separate business and personal when those two relationships have been intertwined for as long as they have.”

In Friday’s Wrap Up video, Brock Huard and Mike Salk share additional thoughts following their conversation with Passan.

You can download Friday’s podcast here.

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Ichiro’s mindset further complicates a delicate situation