Ichiro a ratings hit; a fashion liability

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From the Seattle Times comes word that from midnight to 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Japanese TV ran an Ichiro marathon.  But it wasn’t a highlights package per se, it was video of each and every one of his 2,030 Major League hits.  And it got pretty darn good ratings too. Not sure how such a thing would do here, but if they ran, say, every one of Wade Boggs’ or Rod Carew’s hits here I’d probably watch the whole damn show.  I’d certainly tune it in before I’d watch Ryan Seacrest and the corpse of Dick Clark rockin’ in the new year.

The Times’ article, however, brings us some less-happy Ichiro news: he and his wife Yumiko Fukushima are on the outs. Well, that’s not actually “news” — indeed such a thing has not been reported anywhere by anyone — but based on what he was photographed wearing while taking BP in Japan last month, I can only conclude that he no longer has a woman around to tell him when he dresses like a fool:

Ichiro Pants.jpg

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.