Ichiro compares being a free agent to being a puppy in a pet shop

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Marlins reserve outfielder Ichiro Suzuki used an interesting analogy to describe what it was like to be a free agent during the off-season. Via Brad Lefton of the Wall Street Journal:

“That must be what it feels like to be a puppy at a pet shop,” Ichiro explained in his unique style. “Amongst all the cute little puppies jumping and tumbling for prospective owners, there’s one who’s a little older, a little more mature, who keeps getting passed over for the more adorable ones. When someone finally comes along and points a finger at him, an undying loyalty is born.”

The analogy is cute, but it’s also kind of sad if to think of adult athletes in the same way as caged animals. Then again, given the substandard conditions minor leaguers face and the lack of choices available to players who have not yet reached arbitration eligibility, the analogy may not be too far off.

Ichiro signed with the Marlins on a one-year, $2 million deal in January. Over the last two seasons with the Yankees, he batted .271/.308/.341 with eight home runs, 57 RBI, and 35 stolen bases in 940 plate appearances.