There has been a distinct lack of Reds news during these cold, dark winter months, but this one raised an eyebrow. There’s a piece by Barry Bloom over at MLB.com about the 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki and his potential return to Japan. Evidently, his agent, John Boggs, is holding out hope that he’ll still get an offer to play in America in 2018. Buried near the end is this nugget:

Boggs said he will continue to make the rounds until he gets a bite.

“They know he’s out there,” Boggs said. “There was some hope with the Mets, and they signed Jay Bruce. There was some hope with the Reds if they moved Billy Hamilton, and then that didn’t pan out. We’re just waiting for the next shoe to drop. We keep being told, ‘Check back, check back,’ and I can say that with a half-dozen teams.”

Looks like the Reds were kicking the tires, looking for a 2018 backup plan in the event they had been able to trade Billy Hamilton. Further, it sounds like the Reds have moved on, at least for now. But keep this in the back of your mind in case the Hamilton trade talks get rolling again. If the Reds decide to reach out to Ichiro in the future, it appears they wouldn’t have much competition for his services.

At this time, I’ll make no judgment over whether Ichiro can provide any value to the 2018 Cincinnati Reds. And I love making judgments.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 33 Comments

  1. Did not see that one coming!

  2. Unfortunately it wouldn’t seem prudent to bring in 44 year old Ichiro to a rebuilding team even if Billy leaves, but I do love the idea of Ichiro working with Billy on his game

    • The Arroyo card was well played from a marketing view point in 2017. Why not Ichiro in 2018?

      • Do you think if the Reds offered Billy 3yrs/$15m he would take it? We already know what we’re getting from Hamilton. If they plan on competing in 2019 and beyond I can’t imagine a better 4th outfielder. Plus, his strengths would play soooo well in October.

        • They are paying 4.6 this year so it may be possible. it is probably dependent on what the current free agents end up getting for contracts. An extension could be worth exploring if Hamilton wants to stay and doesn’t mind being the 4th OF

  3. Not sure how good he still is, but I would love seeing Ichiro play here. Would be interesting to be able to watch the future HOFer play on our favorite team.

    • No, He is just too old anymore.
      would rather see what a young guy can do.

  4. The most selfish player in recent memory, Ichiro hasn’t been a good player since 2010. If there was genuine interest, the Reds may be in bigger trouble than I thought.

    • In what way is he selfish? In the way that he will keep playing baseball if people are willing to pay him? As far as I know, he accepted a role as a part-time player without complaint and has always been a good teammate. He’s certainly been up and down, but has at least been a good bench hitter/bench option for the last 3-4 years.

      • In Seattle, he consistently opposed efforts to make him a better player. All he cared about was his hit totals. Bunting in situations that called for a runner to be driven in, e.g., even after management repeatedly asked him to take a more situational approach. He would demonstrate remarkable power in BP and hitting coaches would plead with him to take a more balanced and valuable approach at the plate, but he would openly state that it might hurt his chances to lead the league in hits. He griped when the team needed him to move to CF. He would warm up away from the other players. He would insist on using an interpreter years after it was apparent he was at least conversationally fluent in English. I live in the Northwest, and the M’s are my (distant) second favorite team. I’m willing to concede that there could have been a racial component involved, but I don’t think that accounts for all of the animosity his teammates felt toward him. At the time, Seattle had Japanese ownership, and he isn’t the only Japanese player Seattle has had. But his teammates did not like him at all. Google Ichiro selfish player, and all kinds of things pop up. Some of it will be people defending him against the charge, to be fair. But he sure came off that way to me when I was following him during those years.

        Hey, he may be a different man now, I don’t know. None of that changes the fact that he hasn’t been a good ML player in eight years. If he can get another paycheck stateside, good for him. I just pray it isn’t from the Reds.

  5. Did the Reds take their Ohtani presentation, white out where the name Shohei appeared in it, write in Ichiro and send it to his agent?

    Has Price already set an outfield rotation with Ichiro in it for the regular season, just as he has the rotation mostly “locked up” before Spring Training?

    Sarcasm aside, I really hope this is a case of the agent exaggerating the Reds “interest” just to try and create a market for his client.

    Otherwise, we might have to start a list of #Reds Way items just from this off-season.

    • I just rewatched Romano against SD from August. Really struggled to keep the ball down.

      I see 4 starters better than Sal without much effort and Stephenson taking a step forward. I can understand why our rotation is close to set if everyone is healthy.

      I can also see a filthy rotation at AAA

      • Agreed, Reganspad. I like Sal and hiss stuff. He has a future. BUT he has not yet shown the consistency, to keep it down and still in the strike zone when facing major league hitters over a series of innings. I’d have the patience, and simply wait until he shows that he is ready.

  6. RE: Pitching;

    I just read Sheldon’s piece about rotation health and noticed the nugget buried at the end of Price saying no one should take their spot for granted. At first, as we all discussed earlier, it seemed folly to “set” a rotation in November. But given how very few of the younger pitchers stepped up and really grabbed a spot last year, maybe this is Price lighting a fire under those folks to take a spot by outlining where everyone stands. I very well might be proven wrong this spring but I am choosing to be optimistic this morning.

    • I got that out of his statement also. Out of the young pitchers the only one who truly earned a spot was Castillo. I believe Stevenson may be ready for an assault on the rotation come spring.

  7. Why when we already have a logjam of outfielders,but we can always bring in innings eater pitcher that can’t win a game but he sure can eat innings.That pitcher will go 5 and give up at least 5 runs,throw 100 pitches and we have to fight the rest of the game to catch up.Oh yes then the bullpen is exausted by July.

  8. Bringing in Ichiro at 44 will make Joey feel like a spring chicken. Only positive I can think of.

  9. Was the hope only on the part of Ichiro’s agent, because I can’t see a scenario where anyone thinks Ichiro replaces Hamilton in CF. If Ichiro was the Reds backup plan for Hamilton, which I don’t believe, then I give up all hope for this team. Ichiro couldn’t replace Hamilton, Duvall, Schebler, Winker, Ervin, or even Khivlehan in the lineup. The only way Ichiro should step on the field is at batting practice as Hamilton’s personal hitting coach

  10. Meh. Sign him as a hitting coach, consultant, maybe.

  11. Signing Ichiro makes sense. His .649 OPS and 76 OPS+ are perfect replacements for BHam’s production.

    • And without all that speed and defensive skill too!!

      Ichiro used to be a very good RF with an outstanding arm. The arm is still very good but his range in the OF is now below average. He can still hit some but as you pointed out, he isn’t even a shadow of himself from 4-5 years ago.

  12. The fact that this is even news,shows how far this organization has fallen,last year Arroyo was given a spot in the rotation even tho he got hammered in st,but his spot was secure,now they’re is a discussion over inchiro,INCREDIBLE

  13. Lol….yeah this will probably happen.

  14. Considering nearly everyone “talks” with nearly everyone else …

  15. Since the Reds are the only MLB team without a Japanese player ever on their roster, I say go for it. Besides, Ichiro and Votto would be a blast to watch. On the field and in the dugout.

  16. If we’re going to sign Ichiro, we may as well bring back Barry Larkin to play shortstop and Eric Davis to play center field.

  17. Using my most favorite line in Cincinnati sports. We will be last with Ichiro or last without Ichiro. I say sign him. Have a couple of bobble heads days for him. At least he would help our attendance numbers

  18. That would have been a horrible acquisition. This speak volumes at the ineptitude of the FO. They have lost my confidence (what little there was).

  19. that would be something the reds would do. trade a player like Billy Hamilton for an ichiro like player a selfish non team washed up over the hill guy. that’s their norm. go backwards instead of looking toward the future, like signing alfredo simon and couple other pitchers that been treading water for years. how about 50 yr old bartolo colon

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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