According to various reports the Mariners are about to sign Ichiro to a 5 year 100 million dollar extension. I don't like this move at all.
Purely from a philosophical standpoint I have a problem with this signing. In any sport, I believe the goal is to have a player give you the best years of his career in his prime. Then when he goes for his last pay day have a high level player ready to replace him at a lesser salary. Then use the saved money to pay a new player that fulfills much of the lost players production.
The key here is that someone else gives your player their last big contract for the deeds they have just achieved and more often than not they receive less value as the player ages.
Specifically to the Mariners, Ichiro is age 33 (born October of 1973) and will finish this contract at 39 years old. This is paying someone for their past and getting far less production. Moreover, the Mariners have the heir apparent waiting in Adam Jones.
Jones is a first round draft pick and this is precisely why you have first round picks in your system to replace a player like Ichiro and then you use the money to make a play on the free agent market with another player.
I think we will look back upon this as a real mistake.
Sidenote -- The only way to have this make sense is if you just view what the Mariners did as letting go Ichiro the centerfielder and re-signed Ichiro the right fielder with Jones playing Center next year.
However, that leaves us with the $20 million issue. That will be the next installment.