The Yankees certainly hope this trade with the Mariners works out better than the last big deal between the teams. New York sent prized young catcher Jesus Montero to Seattle before the season for All-Star pitcher Michael Pineda, who was later injured and is out for the year.
The Mariners had been in a delicate situation with Suzuki. A long time star and fan favorite, Suzuki’s skills have been eroding. He’s in the final year of a five-year contract, paying $18 million this season. There has been much debate in the Seattle media whether he would be back next year with Seattle, a team that is rebuilding with young talent.
Suzuki put an end to the speculation when he approached management around the All-Star break and asked to be traded.
“Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his long time agent, Tony Attanasio, approached (team president) Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him,” said Howard Lincoln, the team’s CEO. “Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop.”
“They’re been a lot of guys that have come here over the years, starting my first year with Cecil Fielder,” he added. “It’s been unexpected, sort of out of the blue. That’s why you don’t ever listen to rumors. Getting someone like this is unbelievable.”
Said Suzuki about playing with Jeter: “I noticed that he’s not only a guy who has performed for a long time but consistently performed for a long time. And for a team that has the highest expectations of demand to win. To do what he has done there makes me see that he’s exceptional, not just potential wise as a talent but also as a human being.”
“When I think about this long period, it is difficult to express precisely my feeling,” Suzuki said of his time in Seattle. “When I imagined taking off a Seattle Mariners uniform, I was overcome with sadness. That made it a very difficult decision to make.”