Adding an all-time great to the dugout would help the Phillies take their next step
Despite turning 43-years-old next season, Ichiro has continued to dazzle on the baseball field. While he’s not collecting 250 hits or stealing 50 bases, the leadership, work ethic, and pure hitting ability is something even more valuable for a franchise.
Both Phillies manager Pete Mackanin and general manager Matt Klentak have acknowledged their interest in adding a veteran bat to the roster over the offseason. There’s no better bat to bring to the table than Ichiro’s.
In 137 games this season, Ichiro has hit .291 with 93 hits. One of those hits was the 3,000th of his major league career.
More importantly though is the example and leadership Ichiro brings to a team. With an extremely young lineup, giving the players an opportunity to watch Ichiro’s preparation and demeanor is invaluable.
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Players such as Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, and Freddy Galvis could learn a thing or twenty from the Wizard.
Ichiro would not be your everyday right fielder, but I would platoon him with Aaron Altherr and use him as a pinch-hitter. Once the summer rolls around and you (hopefully) bring Nick Williams up, Ichiro can teach plate discipline and hitting. At the trade deadline, Ichiro would be a valuable chip to a team looking for a role player down the stretch.
It’s almost impossible to project who will be in Philadelphia next year. Looking at the current roster, here are all the players over the age of 30: Ryan Howard, A.J. Ellis, Charlie Morton, Andres Blanco, Frank Herrmann, Matt Harrison, Emanuel Burris, Darin Ruf.
You can make a very good argument that none of those players will be playing in Phillies pinstripes next year.
So without question, Ichiro would be a perfect addition to the Phillies 2017 roster. Much of this will depend on his situation in Miami, where he has a club option for next year. If the Phillies were to acquire him, he would be invaluable on and off the field to one of the youngest rosters in baseball.