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  • 10 Jun
    Ichiro Suzuki hangs it up and we look back at this legend of
    the game. Players are signing extensions left and right and it’s a sign the
    owners are in charge. The Brewers need bullpen help and Craig Kimbrel may be the
    answer."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Chicago Cubs recapsChicago Cubs minor
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    farewell of a
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    ,39commentsIchiro Suzuki hangs it up and we look back at
    this legend of the game. Players are signing extensions left and right and it’s
    a sign the owners are in charge. The Brewers need bullpen help and Craig Kimbrel
    may be the answer. CDTShareTweetShareShareMLB Bullets and the farewell of a
    legendDarren Yamashita-USA TODAY SportsOther than Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth,
    I don’t think any individual player changed the game more than Ichiro Suzuki.
    Yes, baseball was popular in Japan before Ichiro made the trip across the ocean
    in 2001, but it was the popularity of Ichiro that allowed baseball and MLB to
    become the global sport that it is today. He got the send-off he deserved in
    Tokyo on Thursday.James Dator agrees that Ichiro got the perfect goodbye in
    Tokyo.Barry Petchesky writes about Ichiro’s farewell and the overall legend of
    Ichiro.Jim Caple writes about what Ichiro meant to all of Japan and to his
    teammates as well.If you need any convincing about what Ichiro meant to Japan
    and Japanese players, Thursday’s game was also Yusei Kikuchi’s major league
    debut. Kikuchi was in tears during the game as Ichiro said goodbye to his
    teammates and the fans in Tokyo.In a piece that was originally published last
    May, Jack Dickey praises Ichiro as a model of consistency and excellence.Craig
    Calcaterra offers his thoughts on Ichiro’s career alongside the amazing
    statistics he compiled.Rachel McDaniel remembers the beginning of Ichiro’s
    career and then offers her thoughts on the end.Tim Kurkjian shares some
    anecdotes about Ichiro’s career.Ichiro’s eight greatest moments with the
    Mariners. Some people in Cleveland, however, have never forgotten that Ichiro
    once said he’d punch himself in the face for lying if he ever said he was happy
    to go to Cleveland. They do sort of admit that Cleveland can be kind of
    miserable during the hottest days of the summer, however. Also, they admit that
    Ichiro absolutely destroyed the Indians many times during his career. Twenty
    “incredible” facts about the career of Ichiro.Now on to the players who haven’t
    retired. The Cardinals have agreed to a five-year extension worth around $130
    million with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy’s a great player, but he’s
    also already 31 years old. This could win the Cardinals a World Series title
    over the next five years. It could also blow up in their face. Mark Feinsand
    looks at how Goldschmidt signing an extension will impact next winter’s free
    agent market, since Goldy won’t be a part of it anymore.That wasn’t the only
    contract extension of Thursday as the Rays signed reigning Cy Young Award-winner
    Blake Snell to a five-year, $50 million deal. This buys out all of Snell’s
    arbitration years and his first season of free agency.The Rays weren’t done as
    they also inked rookie second baseman Brandon Lowe to a six-year, $24 million
    deal. Eric Longenhagen thinks that the Rays got a good deal but that Lowe may be
    selling himself short. Jon Tayler writes that the Goldschmidt and Snell
    extensions demonstrate that the owners hold all the cards right now in
    negotiations with the players. Most players are pretty keen on avoiding free
    agency at the moment.Except for maybe Red Sox outfielder (and reigning MVP)
    Mookie Betts, who says he still intends to become a free agent in two years.The
    White Sox have also agreed to a
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    , $43 million deal with outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez.
    There are also two option years for the White Sox. Kiley McDaniel believes the
    White Sox manipulated service time to maneuver Jimenez into accepting this
    deal.The Brewers are reportedly in “serious” talks with free agent closer Craig
    Kimbrel.The Brewers need Kimbrel because their current closer, Corey Knebel,
    reportedly has a “concerning” injury to his ulnar collateral ligament. He’s
    going to have a second opinion. The Brewers have said it’s not a complete tear,
    which would definitely require Tommy John surgery, but TJ surgery is still a
    real possibility.Brewers set-up man Jeremy Jeffress will also start the season
    on the injured list with “shoulder weakness,” which doesn’t sound good either.
    Mark Townsend looks at the current shape of the Brewers ‘pen, why they need
    Kimbrel and what it will take for them to sign him.Lost in all of the Ichiro
    festivities in Tokyo is the fact that the Mariners won both games and the
    Athletics got a further blow as first baseman Matt Olson injured his hand after
    fouling off a pitch and could miss significan time.More bad news for the A’s as
    their top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo will be shut down for 4-to-6 weeks
    with a strained rotator cuff.Yankees instructor Lee Mazzilli was hospitalized
    after being struck with a batted ball during batting practice. His condition is
    reportedly improving and the doctors say they are just being cautious by keeping
    him under observation. The Giants made a minor trade yesterday, picking up minor
    league utility infielder Connor Joe from the Reds. But Andrew Baggarly explains
    why this move may be the end of Pablo Sandoval’s career in San Francisco. (The
    Athletic sub. req.) Baggarly also writes that cutting the popular Sandoval could
    have a major impact on the Giants clubhouse dynamics.Former Giants outfielder
    Hunter Pence has reportedly made the Opening Day roster of the Rangers. Pence
    had signed a minor-league deal with Texas this winter. Ben Clemens examines what
    the numbers say as to how you should pitch to Nationals slugger Juan Soto. Other
    than “very carefully,” of course, although that’s good advice as well. Sam
    Miller wonders if Cubs infielder Daniel Descalso will outhit Yankees outfielder
    Giancarlo Stanton again in 2019. Again? Miller is looking at the “clutch” stats
    and brings us up to date on the current sabermetric thinking about the nature of
    “clutch” hitters. In any case, Descalso was extremely “clutch” in 2018 and
    Stanton exactly the opposite. Eli Ben-Porat notes that height for pitchers has
    never been more important. Meaning, the ideal height for a pitcher is 6’4” and
    he explains why.Two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy has ten things he’s looking forward
    to in 2019. (The Athletic sub. req.) In MLB, that is. I don’t know if he’s got a
    daughter who’s getting married this summer or anything.Tom Verducci has four
    teams, led by the Phillies, who are poised for dramatic turnarounds in 2019.The
    Mets will honor Hall-of-Famer Tom Seaver with a statue and the renaming of a
    street outside Citi Field in 2019 and 2020. Diamondbacks prospect Alek Thomas
    hit a home run against the White Sox in a Spring Training game and despite
    pleading Sean
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    , he couldn’t even get a congratulations from his dad. Of
    course, his dad is the White Sox conditioning coordinator. Eventually dad gave
    him a smile. Hannah Keyser asks Diamondbacks fans who the team got in exchange
    for Paul Goldschmidt. No one knew except one Cardinals fan. And finally, we
    leave you with no one wanting to leave the Tokyo Dome at the end of Ichiro
    Suzuki’s glorious career. And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.
    OAKLAND, Calif. — Khris Davis hopes to continue to terrorize Texas Rangers
    pitching when the Oakland Athletics go for a second consecutive win in the
    three-game series Tuesday night.Davis bombed his 37th home run of the season off
    the window of a luxury suite well beyond the fence in center field in Monday’s
    9-0 victory.It was his eighth home run in 14 games against the Rangers this
    season.Article continues below ...Davis totaled 10 homers in 18 games against
    Texas in 2016, the second-most ever hit in a single season against the Texas
    franchise. Mickey Mantle hit 11 in 17 games against the Washington Senators in
    1961.The A’s still have five games remaining against the Rangers.The all-time
    record for an A’s player against any opponent was set by Jimmie Foxx in the
    Philadelphia Athletics days, when he hit 13 in 22 games against the Detroit
    Tigers.The A’s blasted four homers Monday, with two coming off the bat of rookie
    Ramon Laureano, the first two of his career.“We made the park look small for a
    night,” A’s manager Bob Melvin gushed afterward. “We’ve got some power. KD
    (Davis) hit one off a window.“I was joking in the dugout about these warm summer
    nights in Oakland, but they weren’t buying it.”The A’s will set their sights
    Tuesday on Rangers rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado (2-2, 6.41 ERA), who two
    starts ago was torched by the New York Yankees for four homers.He’s lost his
    last two starts, roughed up for 12 runs and 16 hits, including five home
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    , in 11 innings.Jurado has never faced the A’s.Oakland will
    counter with left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3, 3.90), who has been brilliant in
    August without much to show for it.In starts against Detroit, the Los Angeles
    Angels and Seattle, he’s allowed two runs and 11 hits in 19 2/3 innings, but
    didn’t get a win in any of the games. In fact, the A’s lost two of three after
    totaling four runs of offensive support.Anderson got plenty of help when he
    faced the Rangers in Texas on July 23 in a 15-3 win. He limited the Rangers to
    two runs and six hits in eight innings.The 30-year-old is 2-4 with a 5.68 ERA in
    12 games (nine starts) in his career against Texas.Anderson won’t have to face
    one of his toughest outs, Adrian Beltre, who missed his second consecutive game
    Monday with a severe hamstring strain.The injury had the 21-year veteran talking
    retirement before the game.“I’m not going to decide that until the offseason,”
    the 39-year-old insisted. “Everything on the baseball field, everything with my
    family, everything with how I feel mentally is going to be part of (the
    decision).”Rangers manager Jeff Banister related Beltre’s situation with that of
    another star athlete in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.“It’s the grind of getting
    ready to play. It’s the time from once they get up in the morning to game time
    and the preparation of playing,” he said. “Think about (Dallas Mavericks
    standout) Dirk (Nowitzki) and what he goes through on a daily basis to be
    prepared to play a basketball game.“If they fall out of love with that process,
    that is probably when it becomes very challenging for them. Then they really
    have to make a decision.”