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Should The Mariners Trade Ichiro(!) ?

17

Dave Cameron expands on an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, discussing whether the Mariners should trade Ichiro. As usual, Dave covers all the angles, but the most important line in the whole article is this one: "I'm not advocating giving him away..." So many times when I come across articles like this one (including when I've written them) there's a backlash in the comments about the fact that trading a player would leave a hole or that the team can still afford him so why trade him? But you need to think about what's coming back in a trade. Every time. With the M's, they have a lot of outfield depth, so they can look to fill other holes (infielders, for example). But even if they didn't have that depth, they could trade Ichiro for -- get this -- another outfielder! And sure, they can still afford to pay Ichiro and he's not overpaid by much ($17M per year) if at all. But the M's, especially with their new, smart GM, could probably spend that $17M more wisely. As for arguing that Ichiro's declining: "As much as we love the guy and what he’s given to the team, there are signs of decline. In his first five seasons in the U.S., Ichiro posted an Isolated Slugging percentage of .100 or higher four times. He hasn’t done it since, going four straight seasons with essentially no power. He’s drawn three unintentional walks so far this year, putting him on pace to draw ~16 for the season. He usually draws between 25 and 35. He’s been caught stealing three times in eight attempts so far this year after being thrown out four times in 47 attempts last year. During his first four years in the majors, he posted a wOBA of .360, making him a significantly above average hitter. During the last 3 seasons and the start of this year, he’s posted a wOBA of .348, making him a good but not great hitter. 12 points of wOBA adds up to around six runs over the course of a full season, so that offensive dropoff is equal to a loss of about half a win per year. "

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