Ichiro! v. Albert

Jeff · April 22, 2005 at 11:43 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Today on ESPN.com, Phil Rogers and Sean McAdam debate whether Albert Pujols or Ichiro! would be a better franchise cornerstone to build around. Actually, “debate” is the wrong word, since there’s no real direct engagement between the two pieces. Really, they are just paeans to two great players that happen to run beside each other.

McAdam, who takes the side of truth and justice, leaves out one of the best pro-Ichiro reasons: there’s no “Pujols 262 Bobblehead Night” for me to attend.

By the way, if someone pies Bud Selig, tonight, well, it’s not me — but I might be applauding from my seat and taking pictures.

Also, welcome back, Peter.


49 Responses to “Ichiro! v. Albert”

  1. Dave on April 22nd, 2005 11:44 am

    I love Ichiro.

    And I’d trade him for Albert Pujols so fast your head would spin.

  2. Paul Covert on April 22nd, 2005 11:47 am

    Yeah, me too (on both of the above points).

  3. isaac on April 22nd, 2005 11:57 am

    quick question, off topic. what was the logic behind calling up choo? shouldnt he be left in the minors to play every day rather than warm the bench up here and pinch hit/run every once in a while? it seems like leone would have been a better call up, especially given that he plays spezio’s position(s). my apologies if this was covered in another thread.

  4. Todd on April 22nd, 2005 12:01 pm

    The ESPN piece seems awfully contrived to me. Are they simply comparing the two because both arrived as rookies in ’01 and have put up hall of fame numbers in their first four years? Not even the most die-hard Ichiro fan (and I am one) would argue that Ichiro is better than Pujols. I do not know of any M’s/Ichiro fans who feel that they need to justify their adoration of Ichiro’s play by making some silly argument that he is better than Pujols. He is to be enjoyed on his own merits, regardless of whether or not another player is more valuable.

  5. Todd on April 22nd, 2005 12:03 pm

    On Choo/Leonoe — if, to paraphrase the Iron Chef narrator, memory serves me right, a player, like Leone, who was demoted back to the minors, must wait, what, 15 days, until he can be recalled to the major league club’s 25 man roster.

  6. Ralph Malph on April 22nd, 2005 12:09 pm

    What I don’t understand on the Choo for Spiezio move is that Hargrove said he asked them to get him a left-handed bat. We already have a left-handed bat on the bench in Dobbs. What we don’t have is a right-handed bat on the bench.

    Now we have 2 left-handed pinch hitters and no one from the right side. Unless you count WB as a pinch hitter.

    The other night when Dobbs had the pinch-hit double, Krueger said on FSN after the game that Macha should have brought in Rincon as a LOOGY to pitch to Dobbs, which would have forced Hargrove to pinch hit Wilson for Dobbs. Which is a mind boggling comment for any number of reasons.

  7. Dave on April 22nd, 2005 12:13 pm

    Todd, its 10 days, and that is void if the player is returning to replace another player who was placed on the disabled list.

  8. Jim Thomsen on April 22nd, 2005 12:13 pm

    Me too. Pujols is younger, has more power and can do more things to win a game. He is the best talent, the best performer with the biggest sustained upside in baseball. It’s an utterly false debate, anyway, and doesn’t even really do anything to pass the time in satisfying fashion. Why would anybody ever put themselves in a position to have to make such a choice?

  9. Josh on April 22nd, 2005 12:14 pm

    This is a little off topic, but does anyone know when Reese is going to be back? I thought it should be soon but I haven’t heard anything more about his progress.

  10. Chris Begley on April 22nd, 2005 12:14 pm

    On the Ichiro / Pujols front, I would take Pujols with the caveat that we still don’t know what having Ichiro has done to the M’s bottom line. If (as I suspect) he has enhanced it beyond his salary, then I think he is the choice. But on the field, what is there not to like about Pujols?

  11. Paul Marrott Weaver on April 22nd, 2005 12:15 pm

    Ichiro may be more fun to have on your team (quick, good fielding, lots of contact), but Puljos is more likely to deliver runs (good patience, power). Ichiro will draw more TV ratings because of his japan following.

    I’ll take both on the same team.

    Hopefully this Choo call up is short lived, just to give him a small taste before he gets the call in September.

  12. Christopher Michael on April 22nd, 2005 12:26 pm

    A better question is if both of them were the same age who would you rather have to build your team around? Ichiro has other benefits, such as his arm, that make him stick out more as a gold glove outfielder than Pujols at his position. Pujols is good defensively but he doesn’t wow like Ichiro does. Of course if you’re building a team it makes more sense to start at the number 3 and number 4 parts of your lineup than the number 1.

    For the Mariners and their attempt to grab as much of the Japanese market as possible Ichiro is by far the better choice. For practically every other team in baseball Pujols is.

  13. Ralph Malph on April 22nd, 2005 12:28 pm

    There was a post yesterday that described the two conflicting reports on Reese — the team shill (Finnigan) said he’s doing great and the PI said his arm still isn’t right.

  14. Ken Hanselman on April 22nd, 2005 12:28 pm

    Every other month or so, ESPN goes forth with a couple of articles that attempt to explain the phenomenon known as Ichiro. Today’s examples are the McAdam piece and the Neyer piece. Neyer tries to find comparable players from his historical abstract, can’t find anyone except Willie Keeler, and then concludes that Ichiro is not a “great” player because he doesn’t hit for power. Whatever. Every once in a long while someone comes along who doesn’t fit the established view of what is considered great, but is great nontheless. Perhaps that’s the true measure of greatness?

  15. Dave on April 22nd, 2005 12:32 pm

    Ichiro’s arm is probably worth 5 runs a year. 10 tops.

    Its Pujols in a landsliide, regardless of age. .330/.420/.650 is just way more valuable than .360/.410/.480.


  16. Jeff Nye on April 22nd, 2005 12:43 pm


    I’d keep Ichiro! despite the numbers.

    I know the numbers say it’s Pujols, and I understand exactly why. The argument is solid.

    But Ichiro! just seems more exciting and interesting to me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know a ton about Pujols, I don’t know.

    This is a case where I, as a fan, am content to have slightly less raw baseball value to keep a player that I /like/ better.

    Now, let’s talk about trading Bloomquist for Pujols…

  17. Todd on April 22nd, 2005 12:51 pm

    Slow down there Jeff Nye. How can you think of trading the team’s best CF? And Pujols cannot serve as the emergecy catcher.

  18. Aaron on April 22nd, 2005 12:55 pm

    If you’re the Yankees, who need to win every day to satisfy your fans, you take Pujols without even thinking about it. If you’re the D-Rays who might never contend for a title, and your attendance comes from good marketing and an exciting/enjoyable ballpark experience (ok, maybe the D-Rays aren’t the best example…), Ichiro starts to close the gap.

    Pujols is the type of player that can really only be appreciated on a macro level. Once the year is over, you look at his numbers and see how vastly superior he is to virtually anybody else. The day-to-day play is very good, but very business-like and non-flashy.

    Ichiro is best appreciated on the micro level. Each of his at-bats and each of his feilding plays is it’s own adventure.

  19. Brett Farve on April 22nd, 2005 12:58 pm

    Adventure? If that were the case I’ll go with Kevin Mitchell or Al Martin! Ha Ha Ha!!!

  20. Todd on April 22nd, 2005 1:06 pm

    Yeah, Al Martin played left field with the reckless abandon of a USC free safety making a hard tackle on Michigan fullback Leroy Hoard.

  21. Jim Thomsen on April 22nd, 2005 1:22 pm

    Just ask both of his wives.

  22. Feldor on April 22nd, 2005 1:28 pm

    #16: Ichiro! is definitely more exciting, simply from a punctuation standpoint. It’s easy to love both players.

  23. dirk on April 22nd, 2005 1:30 pm

    Another point to consider in the debate is the availability of superb leadoff hitters. If you look at the game’s top leadoff hitters today, you can name guys like Ichiro, Juan Pierre, Shannon Stewart…but then the list gets small. For your Number Three and cleanups hitters, these guys are a dime a dozen. Perhaps they wont put up Pujols’ exact line (not many do), but you can get similar type of production from many guys around the league.

    I guess it comes down to getting close to Ichiro-type numbers (average, contact, speed, range, arm), I would argue, is a lot more difficult than getting close to Pujols type numbers (hrs, run production, average).

    Anyone have a take on this component? Maybe I’m wrong and simply can’t think of any other spectacular leadoff hitters. When I think of the #3 and #4 guys that are out there doing the job well, I get a much higher number.

  24. Todd on April 22nd, 2005 1:35 pm

    True, great leadoff hitters might be rarer birds than great #3 and #4 hitters, but that does not address the issue of overall value. A #4 hitter such as Pujols is still more valuable than a #1 hitter like Ichiro. The Ichiro skill-set is rarer, and more enjoyable, but it is not necessarily more valuable to increasing a team’s chances of winning.

  25. Dave on April 22nd, 2005 1:40 pm

    Think of it this way; would you rather have nine Pujolses or nine Ichiros?

    There’s no law that says your leadoff hitter has to weigh 150 pounds and run fast.

  26. isaac on April 22nd, 2005 1:59 pm

    i dont think you could go wrong with nine ichiros OR nine pujols’. the amount of runs each lineup would score would be so infinitly high that it would cease to matter which team you picked.

  27. DMZ on April 22nd, 2005 2:03 pm

    Nine clones of the current version of Pujols would score more runs than Ichiro clones. In 2004, it was 9.2 runs a game for Pujols and 7.8 runs a game for Ichiro. 1.4 runs a game is pretty huge.

    But this argument’s already insane, so I’m giving up.

  28. Jesse on April 22nd, 2005 2:07 pm

    While, this doesn’t impact the debate much, but if you did have 9 Ichiros, the 3/4/5 hitters would have decent power I think. Maybe it’s unfettered fanhood that makes me think that Ichiro could hit a lot more home runs if he really wanted to, but I do. Not anywhere near as many as Pujols, obviously, but 9 Ichiros would still produce an awful lot of runs.

    And your defense would be a lot better too. Who’s pitching? Because I have a feeling that a 9 Pujols team would be giving up a lot more hits on BABIP than the Ichiro version. Pujols in CF? That could end up costing a lot of runs. I’ve decided. 9 Ichiros over 9 Pujols. The smothering net of outfield defense is too exciting to pass up. And the joy that I would experience about that team winning is greater than the joy I would experience at the Pujols version winning.

    But yeah, I think in real life Pujols is obviously a more valuable cornerstone, revenue considerations aside. But if I could choose between Ichiro + Beltre, vs. say, and Pujols + Stewart…I don’t know. I’m pretty excited about the Beltre/Ichiro nucleus. I hope all the inflammatory remarks I’ve made how incredibly stupid it is to think that Beltre’s ’04 season was a fluke don’t come back to bite me.

  29. Aaron on April 22nd, 2005 2:11 pm

    7.8 RC/27 is still nonthing to sneeze at, though. That’s better than Beltran, Sheffield, Delgado, A-Rod or Eric Chavez.
    It just so happens that Pujols was that much better (though interestingly, behind Bobby Abreu, who still gets no respect).

  30. Jeremy on April 22nd, 2005 2:14 pm


    Remember the Kevin Jarvis towel from last season?

    Well, we have brought back the infamous towel!

    “Mike Hargrove Is Throwing In The Towel, Brought To You By Bed Bath & Beyond”


  31. Aaron on April 22nd, 2005 2:15 pm

    Wow. How good was the middle of the Cardinals offense last year? How about 4 of the top 8 hitters in RC/27. And of the other 4, one was Bonds, Helton plays where the balls don’t land, Berkman’s home field is about the size of my living room, and then the aforementioned Abreu.

  32. DMZ on April 22nd, 2005 2:16 pm

    Off-topic rage riiiisssing…

  33. shortbus on April 22nd, 2005 2:28 pm

    Speaking of off topic…when will Bucky Jacobsen be coming back? Any word on his knee? I haven’t seen anything in the press about him in weeks it seems.

    And yes, I AM trying to make your head explode, DMZ.

  34. semajllibfonaf on April 22nd, 2005 2:33 pm

    Is a trade of these two players being floated? No? What a useless sportswriter’s filler!

    The greatest proof of Ichiro’s greatness, and value, is the amount of sportwriter h—-s— that finds ever more bizarre ways of claiming the opposite.

  35. Jeremy on April 22nd, 2005 2:36 pm

    33: I thought that was Corco’s job. Heh.

  36. msb on April 22nd, 2005 3:03 pm

    O.T. #33- Jacobsen is due to come off the DL until end of May, right? I assume he is still in Peoria– last I heard anything it was in mid-April when he was hitting off a tee every couple of days, doing his conditioning “and hoping the two plugs inserted into his right knee to repair a defect in the articular cartilage” healed. Back in March he said “my leg is strong, but the plugs are not ready to handle the torque position when I swing.” He also admitted that one of the knee docs told him 8 months (which in fact would put him at May) and he had tried to pretend to himself he’d heal faster…

  37. Dave in Palo Alto on April 22nd, 2005 3:12 pm

    It’s tough not to prefer Albert!, but then again, as Neyer likes to point out ad nauseum, the speedy guys tend to hold up better & longer than the sluggers (but compare: juiced/unjuiced sluggers). I wonder how a young Dale Murphy would have fared in the same comparison.

  38. eponymous coward on April 22nd, 2005 3:12 pm

    Today’s examples are the McAdam piece and the Neyer piece. Neyer tries to find comparable players from his historical abstract, can’t find anyone except Willie Keeler, and then concludes that Ichiro is not a “great” player because he doesn’t hit for power.

    So, anyone want to posit when Neyer jumped the shark?

    Note to Neyer: great players typically ARE “unique”.

  39. DMZ on April 22nd, 2005 3:43 pm

    (but compare: juiced/unjuiced sluggers)

    There is no way this thread is going to head there.

  40. Matthew Young on April 22nd, 2005 3:52 pm

    How about 25 Ichiros against 25 Pujolses? The Ichiros would have a much better pitching staff…

  41. urchman on April 22nd, 2005 4:06 pm

    “There is no way this thread is going to head there.”

    Oh, it’s already been headed there. 😉

  42. John D. on April 22nd, 2005 5:27 pm

    Re: (11) THE CHOO CALL-UP – “Hopefully this Choo call up is short lived, just to give him a small taste before he gets the call in September.”
    Perhaps it’s a showcase thing. Maybe there’s a trade in the works. Keep your ears to the ground.

  43. moira on April 22nd, 2005 5:57 pm

    Here’s something to consider- how many songs does Albert Pujols have written about him? Hmmmm?
    Also, I’m surprised that as a Chicago writer Phil Rogers is allowed to like Pujols, it was my understanding that there was some kind of city legislation against that.

  44. ray on April 22nd, 2005 6:42 pm

    #40, I’d have to agree. Ichiro used to be a pitcher and apparently had two plus pitches: fastball and curve. He was sporting a 1.5 ERA or something like that when he was a pitcher. Anyone have the actual stats (just for fun)?

  45. Alex on April 22nd, 2005 8:04 pm

    I love Ichiro and all, but Ichiro versus Pujols? C’mon. I’d take Pujols with thinking twice. Pujols as a hitter is where Edgar was in his early-mid 30’s, only Pujols is still in his mid-20’s. As a player he reminds a lot of Edgar in terms of his hitting prowess and the respect/fear factor when he steps to the plate.

    Of course, I say this with a lot of bias because Pujols is my favorite non-Mariner, with Vlad G. a close 2nd.

  46. ray on April 22nd, 2005 10:47 pm

    Okay #45,
    Who do you pick: Vlad or Pujols?

  47. Alex on April 23rd, 2005 10:47 am

    Between Vlad and Pujols? Gotta go with Pujols, because he’s younger and hasn’t been nearly as injury prone as Vlad has been in recent years. Pujols also seems to have quite a bit more plate discipline than Vlad, who invariably swings at anything/everything…

  48. Paul Marrott Weaver on April 23rd, 2005 3:44 pm

    I used to like Neyer. Now he’s not even a good arm chair analyst.

    The greater player debate is reminiscent(sp?) of the 1909 world series. Honus Wagner vs Ty Cobb. Stats show Cobb as being superrior, but Pittsburgh won. Different leagues, different positions, different guys – both great. The argument was never settled, but Neyer would have gone with Cobb and hopefully bet his life fortune on him.

  49. DMZ on April 23rd, 2005 5:57 pm

    Neyer would have gone with Cobb and hopefully bet his life fortune on him.

    What a shitty thing to say. Go away.