Smooth negotiations mean M’s may sign Suzuki soon

  • LARRY LaRUE / The News Tribune
  • Friday, November 17, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports


The News Tribune

By the time you’re reading about the Apple Cup game on Sunday, Ichiro Suzuki could be a Seattle Mariner.

Sources with the team say negotiations between the Japanese outfielder – one of his nation’s best-known sports figures – and the Mariners have reached the point where a weekend signing is likely.

If that happens, it will be even bigger news in Japan than in Seattle.

“Our first press conference would be in Japan,” a team source said. “And we’d probably have a second in Seattle a few days later. Ichiro may be the best-known player in Japan and there’s a lot of interest in his coming to the big leagues.”

On Nov. 9, the Mariners earned the right to negotiate with Suzuki, a seven-time batting champion, by bidding $13.125 million – money that will go to Suzuki’s Orix Blue Wave team should the Mariners sign him.

A right fielder projected as a potential leadoff hitter, Suzuki has a .353 lifetime batting average in Japan, and has won a batting title in each of his seven full seasons.

Although he has one year remaining on his contract with the Blue Wave, Suzuki asked for the right to be allowed to play in the major leagues next season.

If he does so, he’ll become the first Japanese position player to play in the big leagues.

“For years, Japanese pitchers have been ahead of the hitters, which is why you’ve seen a few of them come to the United States and pitch well,” one Seattle scout said. “Given that, Suzuki hitting over .370 last season makes us believe he can hit pretty well here, too.”

Suzuki, 27, would join this year’s American League Rookie of the Year – Japanese right-hander Kazuhiro Sasaki – on the Seattle roster.

Negotiations have gone smoothly this week, in part because Suzuki clearly wants to play in the majors and the Mariners just as clearly want him to do so in a Seattle uniform. Though Suzuki was seeking a four-year deal and the Mariners initially offered three years, the two sides weren’t far apart on the financial aspects of the deal.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Daniel Kim, left, and Ben Borgida, right, chat between holes during the Snohomish County Amateur golf tournament at the Everett Golf and Country Club in Everett, Washington on Monday, May 29, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Kim soars to 4-shot win in 92nd Snohomish County Amateur

The WSU freshman and Kamiak graduate’s 12-under final total was the historic tournament’s lowest since at least 2010.

The Yankees’ Aaron Judge jogs the bases after hitting his second home run of the game a Mariners first baseman Ty France looks on during the sixth inning of a game Monday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Judge homers twice, Yankees clobber Mariners

Rookie standout Bryce Miller struggles against the New York lineup in Seattle’s 10-4 loss.

AquaSox fall to Hops in Memorial Day game

Everett grabs an early lead, but can’t hang on in an 8-4 loss.

Jackson High School is awarded the 2023 WIAA class 4A softball championship trophy in Richland, Wash., on Sat., May 27. (TJ Mullinax/for The Herald)
Jackson wins state title over GP after game called by weather

The Timberwolves win 5-1 to hoist their third state softball trophy since 2018 after a game that ended in unusual fashion.

Golf no art.
Scores after Round 2 of 92nd Snohomish County Amateur

Daniel Kim carries a three-shot lead into the final round on Monday at Everett Golf and County Club.

Lake Stevens’ Grant Buckmiller takes a peek at the clock as he runs to the title in the 4A boys 200 meter dash during the WIAA State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State track: Lake Stevens sprinter Buckmiller blazes to multiple titles

Also, Kamiak’s Kalia Estes and Jaedyn Chase claim championships and more on local title winners and state placers.

State tournaments roundup for Saturday, May 27

State tournaments roundup for Saturday, May 27: SOFTBALL 4A State Tournament At… Continue reading

A Snohomish player slides safe into third during the 3A softball championship game between Snohomish and Peninsula at the Lacey-Thurston County Regional Athletic Complex in Olympia, Washington on Saturday, May 27, 2023. Snohomish lost, 4-1. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish falls in 3A softball title game, takes 2nd place

The Panthers make a run to the state championship tilt, but lose to top-seeded Peninsula 4-1.

Golf no art.
Scores from Round 1 of the 92nd Snohomish County Amateur

Koen Solis and Daniel Kim each shoot 67 and are tied for a three-shot lead after the opening round at Legion Memorial.

Most Read