Eugene Field to Safeco Field…Winking, blinking, and nodding off.
Last year, Ichiro’s WAR was -0.4.
That is a time-to-retire number. Many players of Ichiro’s historical profile have either shuffled away voluntarily or been shown the door after producing a WAR higher than -0.4, and approximately at the same age as Ichiro (38).
Ichiro’s WAR numbers, especially if you have marveled over him for the past decade, paint an inevitable decline that no shift in his place in the batting order is likely to stem. According to WAR, Ichiro hasn’t been an All-Star since 2009 (although he made the 2010 All-Star team), and actually peaked as a player in 2004, when he produced an 8.1 WAR at 30.
...If Ichiro doesn’t tie himself in knots trying for 200 hits, maybe he can make a more positive contribution than in 2011. But it doesn’t appear any upward bounce will be very high, problematic for the Mariners who owe him another $18 million in what will be the final year of his contract.
Ichiro has often said he would like to play at least until 40, perhaps a little longer. Here’s what I’d like to see Ichiro do: Play out his contract with the Mariners, return to Japan, and finish his career where it started, with dignity and a nearly unblemished major league career intact. As his WAR trend suggests, anything less won’t be pretty.
Posted: February 13, 2012 at 09:50 PM | 42 comment(s)
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