Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Isn't Anyone Talking About This Guy

...whose left hand is that?

Everyone in Chicago seems to think that the Cubs and Sox are both in need of a lead-off hitter, and they'd be right. Soriano and his lead-off homerun needs to be batting further down, and the closest thing the Sox have to a lead-off hitter is Jerry "I sprained my ass taking a shit" Owens. Common consensus is that both teams are going to make a run at Brian Roberts.

Sure, we could go with that - overpay for Roberts dealing with the notoriously stingy Orioles, get one year out of him and then have to pay him the salary increase he's earned (or trade him). That doesn't really sound like the trouble it's worth, especially when you consider how many prospects it will take to pry him from Baltimore.

Instead, why isn't anyone talking about Ichiro?

Ichiro does a few things that Roberts doesn't. For one, he has hit over .300 every year with at least 30 SB - a remarkable feat. His "slap-hitting" style keeps him on the basepaths, and his ability to steal makes him deadly. He also comes with a contract that locks him up until 2012 (and pays him deferred money Ichiro plays a mean RF, something that the Cubs and White Sox would both like to fill (Jermaine Dye is likely going to be traded, and Fukudome is likely going to be deported).

Most importantly, the Mariners would be willing to trade him. The common consnensus in Seattle is "oh dear lord, we suck." It is very much time to rebuild in Seattle, and Ichiro is probably past his prime (what, hitting only .301 next year?). The Mariners have already shown that they're not afraid to trade big names for youth in their latest trade with the Mets. Seattle traded away Putz (best closer they've had in a while), and Jeremy Reed in exchange for a boatload of prospects, Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, and a spunky young outfielder named Franklin Gutierrez.

If Seattle is maintaining their youth movement (and I see no reason why not), this is probably the best time to make a run for Ichiro. If the Sox offered a package of youth (Poreda and Getz?), they could probably get the job done. Likewise, the Cubs could offer to eat his entire salary and dump more failed talent (Sean Marshall, Rich Hill, et al). Oh, and did I mention that Ichiro fills seats (with Japanese reporters, but hey, seats are seats).

Frankly, I just want to see how Fukudome would react to Ichiro joining the team. It would be worth it just to see Ichiro try and "respectfully" take Fukudome's job in front of 100,000 rabid Japanese media.

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