SEATTLE -- The quickest and most audacious way to jump-start the job of re-tooling the Seattle Mariners?
|Moving Ichiro would be a wise move for the Mariners, but conventional wisdom says he stays put. (Getty Images)|
No single player on the Mariners roster has his value despite the fact that, like his team, Ichiro is underperforming in 2008 (.293 batting average, .352 on-base percentage and 33 steals).
And do you know what?
Ichiro, whose five-year, $90 million contract contains a limited no-trade clause allowing him to specify 10 clubs to which he cannot be traded without his consent, says he would not stand in the Mariners' way.
For now, at least.
"Once I decided to sign a five-year contract (last July), that means that was what I wanted to do, and if I were to comment on it, it would be wrong," Ichiro told CBSSports.com through his interpreter the other night when asked how he would respond if the Mariners approached him about a trade. "It would be for the organization to comment.
"If you think about it, if the organization trades me, they're saying, 'We don't want you anymore.' I work hard for the organization because I wanted to be here.
"Once I'm not wanted, for me to go against the decision of the organization would be wrong as well."
Conventional wisdom has the Mariners keeping Ichiro simply because of their Japanese ownership and his importance to them as the face of their franchise. Seattle did award him the five-year, $90 million deal last July.
While Mariners president Chuck Armstrong says that "no options are off the table" and "we're taking calls", indications are that those phrases do not apply to the Seattle legend.
"I'm not dealing in hypotheticals," Armstrong says. "But we have no plans, no intention, no desire to trade Ichiro."
As Armstrong says, "He's our marquee player. We just signed him for five years. He's an exciting player. He's someone our fans want to come out and see. You see fans lined up to see him both at home and on the road.