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Trade Ichiro or Felix? Yes – Time for drastic action

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
Ichiro Suzuki has had trouble at the plate and in the outfield this season. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel believes he has a few more good years in him, and that the Mariners should trade him if he asks to go.

They Mariners have now lost 12 straight games, plummeting out of playoff contention for another season.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says desperate times call for desperate measures. That includes thinking seriously about trading Ichiro Suzuki or Felix Hernandez.

Trade deadline looming

Major League Baseball's trade deadline is July 31. Thiel says the Mariners need to take drastic action to get some good hitters. That includes getting rid of some veteran players and their big salaries in exchange for decent prospects.

Ichiro deserves better

Art praises the loyalty of Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki but says it's time for him to be on a team that has a good shot at the playoffs this year.

"He's been playing for a loser for a decade. Ichiro has put in his time here. I think he's done well by everyone. It would be a shame to see him go. But he's only going to go if he asks to go. The Mariners are not going to try to trade him. But I should think that if he wants to, he should go."

King Felix to vacate his throne?

Unlike Ichiro, who's been struggling at the plate and in the field this year, Felix Hernandez is having a good season. Art says it's not as good as last year when he won the American League Cy Young Award, but he's pitching well enough that a lot of teams that are on the brink of contention may feel he'd put them over the edge.

"I'm not saying trade Felix absolutely, but you've got to be able to get a haul of players – like, at least two people who can start next year and can actually hit the ball."

Finally, action on Figgins

Chone Figgins has not been hitting the ball very well at all, and it looks like the Mariners are trying to shop him around for a trade. He started in left field against the Blue Jays on Thursday – a position he hasn't played in five years. Art says it's clear the M's are trying to showcase him, and the Cincinnati Reds are reportedly interested.

Art says the Mariners would likely be stuck with the remainder of Figgins' big contract, but they might be able to trade him for a player who would benefit the team down the road.

Losses are mounting

Art says the Mariners might have another season of more than 100 losses (after 101-loss seasons in 2010 and 2008). He says this year's team is all pitching and no hitting.

"They are even behind the pace of last year that they set when they were the worst offensive team since the designated hitter was introduced into the American League in 1973. They've got to do something desperate."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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