Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 11/19/14

Ichiro Suzuki has been the face of the Mariners franchise for several years now, but he is 39 years old and coming to the end of his contract. As would be the case with any player in their late-30s, his numbers are rapidly declining. Ichiro finished the season last year with a .272 average — the first time he failed to hit over .300 in his 11-year MLB career. This season, he is hitting just .259 with only 13 stolen bases. Now, Seattle has to figure out what to do with him.

Mariners legend Jay Buhner is hoping his former team doesn’t make an emotional decision. When asked what he would say if the Mariners offered Ichiro a three-year deal worth around $35 million, Buhner gave the following response.

“I’d vomit,” Buhner told ESPN 710′s “Brock and Salk Show” according to The Seattle Times. “I mean, really, no offense. No offense, we’ve got to get this organization turned around. You can’t be spending all the money on one guy.

“But at the same time, they need help desperately. They need some veteran leadership in the clubhouse. Wedgie (manager Eric Wedge) can’t keep growing the beard, growing the mustache, shaving it off, that’s not the answer.”

Jay is right. A veteran presence would be nice — for the right amount of years and dollars. The problem the Mariners have is that Ichiro has become the face of their franchise. Fans go to the ballpark to see him play and even dress like him on occasion. Seattle ranks 26th in the league in average attendance this season, so the last thing they need to do is give more fans a reason to stop showing up. That being said, they also can’t afford to be dedicating a large chunk of their payroll to players who are going to fall off the map very shortly. If Ichiro is not willing to take a one-year deal or a two-year deal on short money, Seattle needs to let him walk.

H/T Big League Stew
Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel, US PRESSWIRE

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16 Comments:
  • Your mouth to Z's ears Bone. I would join you in vomiting. IMHO it is way past time for Ichiro to go away.
  • Good for you Buhner, I agree. I also said that about your last Mariner contract.
  • I had a encounter with jay burhner at spring trainning in Peoria, AZ in 200. I watched as a kid walked up with a vintage jersey of the bone and asked for an autogrpaph. The Bone, this so called "legend, great person" said no to the kid and continued watching the game, this attitude is what causes people to "vomit". As many spectators watchede the Bones actions and were becoming disgusted with him, he later was getting very argumentative with the people around him and wanted to fight a couple of men. His "entourage" that he was with encouraged him to continue arguing with the fans. And this is what we call a "legend" someone who the kids can look up to????? I THINK NOT!
  • I'm here to tell you Jay Buhner has always been a class act. Can you blame a guy for wanting to watch the game? I bet that he was signing autographs before the game, after the game and between innings. I too have seen him turn autograph seekers away but only because like you and I he wanted to watch a game!!
  • @rasofcon: What does your slam on Buhner have to do with the article? I use to hang around the Kingdome/Safeco and collect signatures from players. Buhner was always a class act and easy to approach. I witnessed him tell fans no a few times but never in a mean way. Exactly why would he as retired Mariner try and pick fight at a game? Sound unbelievable to me......

    As for Ichiro baseball is a business.Signing him to a contract worth $35 million makes me feel nauseous too....
  • The owners will look at the bottom line: How many more fans will they lose if they lose Ichiro? The M's only have two drawing cards: Felix and Ichiro and Felix only pitches every 6 days, Ichiro is on the field every day, so who brings the most fans to the ball park? Sorry to say, but if Ichiro isn't resigned, many more fans will abandon the M's as will the Japan connection. I say trade Felix contingent on the buyer taking Figgins and maybe Ryan in the deal. Figgins will get another 8M next year and Ryan will never be able to make any significant offensive contribution. Also, trade Olive for the same reason as Ryan.
  • Ichiro is done, so let him retire after season's end. Felix has two years before he's gone to greener pastures - so, trade him now for prospects - otherwise, the Mariners will end up with nothing.
  • Wow Bones, pretty cruel and rude statement, thought better of you then that.
  • Buhner is "out of line" with his comment and not for what he says but, for how he says it. There must be 1000 ways to express yourself by not insulting the Mariners management and more importantly, Ichiro who has done nothing but dedicate his entire MLB career to the Mariners. They call that "loyalty" Mr. Buhner and if you had put up half the numbers in your career that Ichiro has in his then "maybe" you can use the word "vomit" when describing "possible" deals for a great Mariner player like Ichiro. In other words Jay, "Go pound home plate sand".
  • Well said Loudnclear!!
  • Giving any sports player that much $ is sickening to me. It's a game people no one should get that much to play a game. not even if they are the best or once were the best on their team. and especially not if it takes me two days working time to pay for the tickets because of it.
  • Ichiro's batting numbers may be down but he can still throw a guy out at the plate from the field. He's worth making a deal with just on his defensive capabilities.
  • I'm already shocked that he isn't being mentioned in a trade. We need to cull the dead wood from the roster. Ichiro, Olivo, Figgins and Millwood all need to go. I'd rather lose with the young guys than lose with a bunch of over-paid, over-the-hill veterans. If they wanted to take a shot on an older veteran, why not pick up Vlad Guererro? At least he has power and will hit over .250!
  • Ichiro is washed up. Trade him to the Yankees while we can still get something for him. He's a has-been and he's playing in Dustin Ackley's spot!!! RELEASE ICHIRO IF NOTHING ELSE!!!
  • Bonehead was washed up when the Yankees let him go He cant even sell trucks.
  • Can we get rid of Howard Lincoln - he is the real downfall of the Mariners!!!
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