Daniel Murphy out 4-6 months with knee injury

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Slated to be the Mets’ starting first baseman, Daniel Murphy injured his knee late in spring training and then watched as Ike Davis took over the job for what could be the next decade or so. Once healthy the Mets demoted Murphy to Triple-A, but he lasted just eight games there before re-injuring his knee and is now expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn MCL.
Mets fans latched on to Murphy as a long-term answer when he hit .313 with an .871 OPS in 49 games as a 23-year-old rookie in 2008, but the dirty little secret is that he was never all that promising a prospect. Handed a full-time job last season he hit just .266 with 12 homers in 155 games, posting a .741 OPS that ranked 23rd among the 24 first basemen who batted at least 450 times.
Combined with his strong rookie numbers that gives Murphy a .275 batting average, .331 on-base percentage, and .437 slugging percentage through 204 games in the majors, which is about what you’d expect from someone who hit .295/.356/.452 in the minors. He’s still just 25 years old and certainly looks capable of being a decent platoon player, but now he’s facing a long road back from the knee injury and an uncertain future in New York.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?