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Bill Bavasi is my whipping boy. (Oh, and I bring it around to the Sox this time)

This article from the AP is the basis.

Let's start with the title.

M's mission: Suzuki talks may drag on for a while.

Before we go any further, let's all agree that Suzuki is the only position player on the Mariners currently not disappointing the team in any way. The idea that it should be the Mariners' mission to let the Suzuki talks drag on is ridiculous. I'll give Bavasi a pass on this one, as it might just be an unfortunate choice by the AP writer. We continue...

"It's a top priority," Bavasi said Wednesday. "But the timing is not that important."

I don't know about you, but if I'm making a to-do list, my top priority is the one I try to accomplish/finish first. Let's get to that word "timing". The timing is...not important? Well, the timing may not be important to you, Bill, but I guarantee you don't want to let the guy test FA if you can help it. He speaks:

"I think it should be an issue," Bavasi said. "But -- I don't know if you want to believe me -- but [urgency] is not going to be an issue here."

As a Sox fan, I actually want to believe you, Bavasi. Yankee fans probably do too. I could even see this being the kind of player Terry Ryan tries to convince Carl Pohlad to spend money on. Tigers fans. Etc. I imagine the opposite is true for Mariners' fans. At least Ichiro is on the same page as ol' Bill:

Suzuki is in Japan working out, preparing to report to spring training in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 19 for his annual physical. He's also apparently waiting on a Mariners contract proposal.

Or not. Hold on. Bavasi again:

"He's a special player," Bavasi said. "But I also think Seattle's a special place for him. He means a lot to us."

"But [urgency] is not going to be an issue here."

All right. And now I move on to the Sox.

Devil's advocate time. Let's say we do accomplish the J.D. Drew signing. Several things could happen to our OF next season. J.D. Drew or Manny Ramirez might not be healthy enough to play the whole year, or suffer some injury that saps their effectiveness (this is more just Drew). Pena does not grow as a player, and more importantly to my analysis, Crisp does not bounce back. *

How about Ichiro in 2008? This is a guy who will be possibly the top defensive CF in the AL next season. He's also almost surely a lock for another season of 200 hits and 100 runs. He steals many bases, and steals bases effectively(80% career success rate). He wreaks havoc on the basepaths, and is a sure bet to go first-to-third in situations where it's called for. Similarly, his arm is ideal for limiting other players from such pursuits.

That's the upside. What's the downside? The Yankees will almost surely be in on the competition, for one thing. They may decide Andruw Jones fits their style better, as both Damon and Jeter are capable of being effective leadoff hitters. They could re-sign Abreu, as his FA departure will leave the hole in RF rather than CF. But I think we can be certain that they will be interested either way.

Also, Ichiro, while showing no noticeable signs of decline, would be 34 by the beginning of 2008. He's getting to the point in his career where his speed should be declining. Will it? I don't know. I like to think Ichiro will beat that test of time. In addition, while there's no reason to believe this will decline, Ichiro's status as a premier leadoff hitter relies on him hitting well over .300, as he doesn't walk as often as you'd like for your leadoff hitter. That's not his game, and it would probably be a mistake to try to change him at this stage in his career. I also think if his bat speed declines, he's smart enough to work a few more walks anyway. He sees the ball as well as anyone.

So what should we do? Even if Coco rebounds, he'll have one year left on a very attractive contract, and would be very tradeable. Even if he doesn't rebound, Jacoby Ellsbury might be ready to take over, and he's been a superior defensive CF and leadoff hitter in the minors for most of his professional career. Ichiro would likely seek a multi-year deal: Early speculation has the Mariners feeling Ichiro out on a four-year deal.

*I don't want these things to happen.


Pursue him?

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  • 31%
    (5 votes)
  • 12%
    (2 votes)
  • 56%
    As long as the Yankees don't get him, I don't care.
    (9 votes)
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