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July 30, 2012 at 1:24 PM

One week post-Ichiro, he’s still the exact same hitter

Just fiddling around the internet this morning waiting for the Mariners to trade Brandon League and other guys. Well, it’s been one week since the big Ichiro trade and all I keep hearing is how that move to New York could reinvigorate his career. If you watched last night’s Yankees-Red Sox game, you know what I’m talking about. The story I linked to above also cites his “recording a hit in each of his first six games as a Yankee” as evidence the reinvigoration might already be underway.
Maybe it is. Who knows? After all, Ichiro has a six-game hitting streak. He’s already put Seattle well in his rear-view mirror, right?
Not quite.
Ichiro with Yankees: .261/.292/.304
Ichiro with Mariners: .261/.288/.353
Photo Credit: AP

Yeah, it’s only a six-game sample and we all know we can’t judge too much based off of that. Which is why it’s probably best for our friends on the East Coast to hold off on the whole “reinvigorated” angle for the time being.
One week into the trade, Ichiro is the exact same hitter in New York that he was in Seattle for the past two years. And it isn’t likely to change, unless the hit totals see some walks and doubles sprinkled in.
Those haven’t been around for a long, long time. The doubles, I mean. The walks have never been there.
Look, this isn’t meant to denigrate what Ichiro accomplished here for the first decade of his career. But for anyone feeling regret based on a perceived uptick in Ichiro’s game now that he’s left Seattle, relax. You’ve seen it all before, the first half of this season, regardless of the early media reviews he’s gotten.
For now, his defense should provide New York with an excellent, part-time Brett Gardner injury replacement in the field as the Yankees gear for the post-season.
But fear not. There is no evidence thus far that Ichiro has suddenly become a different player in New York. The only evidence out there — hitting streak or not — is that he’s the exact same hitter. He will have a hard time landing a full-time job with any MLB team this winter, barring a dramatic turnaround in what he’s done for the Yankees thus far.
If the M’s still want him this winter as part of an extension, as Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln said they would have wanted last week, then chances are they’ll be the first and only execs lining up for the privilege. But my guess is, all that talk last week was just that — talk. Like I’ve said, it’s what teams do that’s important, not what they say.
The M’s should celebrate Ichiro’s Hall of Fame career whenever they have the opportunity. But it should be done from a distance. The truth is, he did them a huge favor last week, whether it truly ever “reinvigorates” his career or not.



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