Seattle Mariners legend Jay Buhner said Tuesday he would “vomit” if the Mariners give the struggling Ichiro Suzuki another big contract – something in the range of 3-years and $35 million - $40 million.
“I’d vomit,” Buhner said on the Brock and Salk show on 710 ESPN Seattle. “I mean, really, no offense. No offense. I mean, we’ve got to get this organization turned around. You can’t be spending all the money on one guy.”
Ichiro, 38, has one year left on a contract that’s reportedly paying him $18 million per season. Ichiro set a major league record with over 200 hits in each of his first 10 seasons, batting over .300 each year and winning the American League MVP as a rookie. But in 2011, he amassed 184 hits, batting .272.
This season, Ichiro has been moved around the lineup and is batting just .259.
Buhner agreed that throughout his career, Ichiro has not been a vocal clubhouse leader, with or without the language barrier.
“You know what? Ichiro is not necessarily the problem. I mean he’s getting all the feedback and the flack. After all, he had a bad year last year,” Buhner said. “I understand if you want to bring him back and he’s part of the equation, but at the same time, you’ve got to save some money. They need help desperately, man. They need some veteran leadership in the clubhouse. (Manager Eric Wedge) can’t keep growing a beard, growing a mustache, shaving it off. I mean that’s not the answer. There’s some help that needs to be done.”
Buhner also praised Wedge for trying to change the culture in the Mariners clubhouse.
“He’s trying to change the mentality, and how basically the entire organization’s looked upon. But the last 10 years has been tough. I mean, look at the revolving door that’s been going on over there. What, seven managers in the last 10 years. GMs,” said Buhner. “What are you supposed to buy into with that much change going on year in and year out? It’s tough for these kids.”
Listen to the entire interview here