Baltimore Orioles Rumor Du Jour: Ichiro Suzuki


Aug 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees outfielder

Ichiro Suzuki

(31) during batting practice prior to a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The way things are going with this offseason, by the time Dan Duquette of the Baltimore Orioles finalizes any moves to address needs for corner outfielders, we are going to be able to analyze every possible available player. And we can do this in conjunction with the rumor du jour, so for this day it is Ichiro Suzuki.

Really. I should have known we’d get here, and I should have had this article done in advance as I get done with this, I am going to start working on my Endy Chavez rumor article.

But back to Ichiro, there is honestly as much to commend him as a legitimate possibility as any of the others who have been featured in this blog over the past week or so.

I know, I know … the first reaction of many will be to say, “No, we don’t need a slow old man who should have retired a couple of years ago.”

Ichiro is age 41; that is true. But, consider this: during this past season he stole as many bases as the top two Orioles combined. He swiped a total of 15 in 18 attempts. David Lough had eight, while Adam Jones stole seven. The guy can still run.

There is no doubt that Suzuki’s best days as a ballplayer are in the past. And wow, those statistics are pretty impressive with 10 consecutive years as both an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner (2001-2010).

Ichiro’s career batting average is .317 with an OBP of .360. He has a total of 2844 hits, and getting the extra 156 to retire at 3,000 or above is apparently a personal goal.

Suzuki has been especially good at Camden Yards where he has over the course of 66 games hit .354 with a .387 OBP.  Of course, a good bit of that was done against some less than stellar Orioles pitching in the 14 dark years.

But to speculate upon the effectiveness of Ichiro in the Baltimore Orioles lineup with regularity, we probably need to look at his more recent statistics. These will give a better picture of what might be expected, rather than a composite of all of his great years with the Mariners.


Clearly Ichiro is not going to replace many home runs – not even as many as would be hit by Nick Markakis. But he brings other skills of value. Imagine the speed potential with he and Alejandro De Aza combining in the 9th and 1st holes as the lineup would turn over.

It is difficult to speculate what sort of price Ichiro Suzuki would command at this point of his career. How much does he care about this? He has made $159 million over his 14 years of baseball in America. He earned $6.5 million each of the past two seasons with the Yankees.

An interesting statistic on Suzuki – who of course is a left-handed batter – is that he hits better against lefties than RHPs. This was true in 2014, batting .333 against LHP and .274 against RHP. These numbers replicate his entire career where he splits R/L with .312/.330. Imagine him in the lineup in right field with Steve Pearce in left and Delmon Young as the DH against a left-handed starting pitcher. The only lefty to be negatively impacted in the entire Orioles order would be Chris Davis.

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So Ichiro hits me as a workable possibility, especially if paired also with a returning Delmon Young. I would be good with this as a viable team to compete at the highest levels.

Speaking of Young, the word yesterday from agent remarks is that he is still in the running for a possible deal to work out to be with the Baltimore Orioles again – his preference. Just do it.

Next: How about a trade for Seth Smith?