This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
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"Yusei Kikuchi was ten years old when Ichiro Suzuki moved across the Pacific and won the AL MVP award in 2001, and Suzuki, the greatest Japanese MLB player ever, was a superstar as Kikuchi was growing into a star in his own right. How many young Japanese ballplayers grew up wearing Mariners gear, following Ichiro’s career Stateside, and by extension, growing an affinity for the Mariners? No one’s making a move like this to fulfill the dream of their tween self, but on the margins, will the Mariners be able to exploit an edge they earned by signing Ichiro 20 years ago?"