M's to be paying Ichiro until at least 2032

Updated: July 19, 2007, 1:34 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Seattle Mariners will be paying Ichiro Suzuki for at least a quarter century.

Hit Man

When it comes to 200-hit seasons, Ichiro Suzuki is the king among active players. He leads all active players with six 200-hit seasons and he had an MLB-record 262 hits in 2004.

Most hits, season, active players
Player Hits
Ichiro, 2004 262
Ichiro, 2001 242
Darin Erstad, 2000 240
Ichiro, 2006 224
Michael Young, 2005 221
The All-Star outfielder's new contract extension calls for the team to defer $25 million of the $90 million he is owed, money that the team will not have to fully pay until at least 2032.

Suzuki, MVP of last week's All-Star Game, gets a $5 million signing bonus and annual salaries of $17 million from 2008-12 under the terms of last Friday's deal.

Seattle will pay $12 million in salary each year and defer $5 million per season at 5.5 percent interest. Suzuki, who turns 33 in October, will receive the money in annual installments each Jan. 30 starting with the year after his retirement from the major leagues.

Because of the deferred money, the average annual value of the contract is discounted to $16.1 million under the provisions of baseball's collective bargaining agreement.

In addition, he gets a housing allowance of $32,000 next year, an increase of $1,000 from this season, and the amount will rise by $1,000 each year. He also will be provided with either a new jeep or Mercedes SUV by the team, which also gives him four first-class round trip tickets from Japan each year for his family. Provisions for the Mariners to give him a personal trainer and an interpreter were continued.

When asked Wednesday how appreciative he was that the Mariners went far beyond a basic contract for him, the 33-year-old Suzuki said through his interpreter: "I spoke about the contract on the day I signed. I would not like to talk about that any more."

Two Mariners executives also declined comment before Seattle's game against Baltimore, citing the team's policy of not revealing contract details.

A baseball official with knowledge of Suzuki's new contract -- and his current one that ends this fall and is paying him $11 million this season -- said the perks of a team-provided vehicle, plane tickets, a personal trainer and an interpreter were also in Suzuki's previous deals and were not a major negotiating issue this time around. The official requested anonymity to honor the Mariners' policy of not discussing contracts.

Suzuki, who would have been eligible to become a free agent after this season, began Wednesday with a .352 batting average and a major league-leading 133 hits.

The seven-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove outfielder maintains the same limited no-trade clause he had in the $44 million, four-year deal he signed before the 2004 season. In his current deal, Suzuki can pick 10 teams to which he can't be traded without his consent.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press