Ichiro, OF, Miami
There are a number of reasons why the Kansas City Royals could stand to take a long, hard look at the Rising Sun’s Favorite Son:
- Ichiro continues to possess above-average defensive abilities in the outfield—in his limited outings in 2017, he’s got the second-best arm rating and second-best UZR on the Marlins behind Marcell Ozuna.
- He’s a veteran presence that fits into any clubhouse—you can’t go a season without teammates raving about his leadership.
- Never underestimate the karmic factor of bringing aboard the Veteran Chasing His Elusive Championship Ring element into the equation.
- Despite the fact that he’s nearly 44 years old, Ichiro still commands a huge following in Japan—by all accounts, he’s some combination of Michael Jordan and the Beatles in his home country. I’m not a big brand enhancement guy, but if you’re getting a fourth outfielder/designated hitter type, why not go for the one who could train the eyes of a baseball-mad nation on your franchise during the playoffs?
- An outfield of Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Ichiro would cover a lot of ground and be tons of fun to watch.
Ichiro is 43. He’s hitting .223 this season. But he represents a defensive upgrade in the late innings, Jorge Bonifacio could always slide in as the DH and honestly, it would just be tons of fan to have him.