Tonight is the first for a lot of things for Ichiro Suzuki.
It will be the first time he has played left field in a long time. Twitter was misinformed, Ichiro will indeed play right field. It will be the first time he has batted eighth in the line-up for a long time. It will be the first time he has worn the fabled pinstripe uniform. It will also be the first time that he bats in the top of the inning at Safeco Field.
Ichiro was traded earlier this afternoon to the New York Yankees for minor league pitchers DJ Mitchell and Danny Fahrquar. The Mariners are picking up approximately 2/3 of Ichiro's salary this year as well.
At a press conference earlier today, Ichiro spoke in his standard Ichiro way, vague and indirect answers about his career in Seattle, but it is clear that he holds the team who helped him pave the way for Japanese born position players everywhere in high regard.
Ichiro speaking, focused but hint of emotion both in voice and on face. Voice cracked when he said "Mariners" Eyes glistening.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) July 23, 2012
The real question that is now lingering in Seattle is what is happening with the team - specifically the ownership group. As the Mariners have consistently slashed payroll for the past few years, it has long been rumored amongst bloggers and MLB insiders that the Mariners are possibly setting themselves up for a sale. The team is in a prime position, owing virtually no money on the state of the art stadium they play in and having turned a profit every year - including recent years where the team lost 100 plus games.
However, CEO Howard Lincoln was quick to dispel those rumors.
Lincoln says the Ichiro move does not indicate that the team is for sale and further clarified that the team indeed is not for sale— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) July 23, 2012