The next time you rail against millionaire ballplayers, remember that not all of them — not even all of them who have been in and around the big leagues for a while — are rollin’ in it. R.A. Dickey certainly ain’t rich yet, though hopefully he’ll cash in this winter with either a nice arbitration award or an arbitration-avoiding deal with the Mets.
Why should you root for him to some dough? Because after reading this morning’s story about Dickey’s travels and his family — a wife and three kids in Nashville with a fourth on the way — by Andy McCollough of the Star-Ledger, you can’t not root for him.
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?