Friday, July 13, 2007

Is the Ichiro signing the "end of the world?"

Florida Marlins President David Samson seems to think so.

During an interview on a local sports talk radio show, Samson called the possible Ichiro contract extension as "the end of the world as we know it", "a joke", and "it will take the sport down." According to

Samson, however was the same president who twice held a "fire sale" after two world series appearances by trading and cutting key players from both 1997 and 2003 world series teams in attempts to start over with a low budget. Also, Samson fired NL Manager of the Year Jack McKeon after their World Series Win over the New York Yankees in 2003. Not to mention he is the president of an organization with one of the lowest season attendance record averages ever.

If Ichiro and the Mariners come to an agreement on a contract extension that will pay roughly $100 million over the next 5 years, it will make him the most over-paid lead-off hitter in the game and it will add to the list of over-priced players in the league. Do I agree with Mr. Samson? Yes, but you won't hear me on talk shows ranting and raving about it either.

Ichiro will be 34 this year. He is currently an exceptional lead-off hitter due to his speed and great contact ability at the plate. Not to mention he has great range with an above average arm as well. However, Ichiro will be turning 39 in his contract year. By that time his speed and range will have diminished to a point, and his bat speed will have slowed as well. All the things that Ichiro depends upon currently and what make him what he is today will be well under the value of his contract.

This deal is similar to the Johnny Damon deal of almost two years ago. Damon in his prime was an elite leadoff hitter with great range and a strong bat. The Red Sox decided to let go of Damon after the 2005 season because of contractual reasons. The Red Sox were afraid to sign the 31 year old Damon to a long term extension because of his age at the lead-off position. The Yankees soon signed Damon to a four year deal that December. Damon will be getting paid over $12 million during his contract year at age 36. As a lead-off hitter.

Is Ichiro better than Damon in their primes? Yes. Which is why Ichiro deserves better money. However, signing him to a $100 million dollar contract would be crazy at his age. I understand much of this contract has to do with Japanese media and marketing politics. Still, $20 million is too much money for a player who doesn't drive in runs and solely relies on hits and OBP. In my mind, Ichiro is worth roughly $17 million a year for the next two years. Watch his value drop after age 36.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Ichiro is definitly over-priced....they need to worry about King Feliz TOO....