Barry Bonds says Ichiro could win the Home Run Derby if he wanted to

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Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has reached double-digits in home runs only three times in his career, and hasn’t done it since 2009 when he was 35 years old. Yet Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds is adamant that Ichiro could win the Home Run Derby if he wanted to.

Deadspin directed readers to this YouTube video featuring an interview of Bonds. He said:

He hits more home runs than anyone in batting practice. Every day. I told him, I had a talk with him the other day. I said, “You gotta stop hitting all these home runs.” He says, “Why?” I said, “Because you’re wasting them in practice. We want you to hit a home run in a game.” I think he hits all his home runs in batting practice so he can get all his hits [in games].

[On Ichiro in the Home Run Derby]

I think he’d win. Easy. Hands down. That’s just his style. He likes to get the bat head through the zone. He likes that comfort zone. That’s how he plans himself and he knows — there’s very rare hitters that know what they want to do and he’s one of those guys who knows exactly what he’s doing.

That Ichiro could be a power hitter if he wanted to isn’t a new assertion. It’s been part of his mythology since he came into the league. As you can see in the above clip, it doesn’t seem to take much effort at all for Ichiro to plant a homer 25 rows deep in right field. Bonds’ claim isn’t that outrageous.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.