The Return of the $100 Million Man From Japan.

Could that post-game interview with Jeanie Zelasko have been MORE awkward? I hate it when white people try talking down to foreign-speaking people, especially when there's a half-assed interpreter standing right there.

Reports are in - nothing's official - but it's looking like the Mariners can enjoy having the best Japanese leadoff hitter for the next five seasons. I for one am relieved. He may not be a Pujols or a Vlad or even a Prince Fielder, but the man stone-cold gets on base and more often than not (when he tries), turns that base into two. According to Softy Softerson's math skills, over the last year and a half, Ichiro has been caught stealing 4 times out of nearly 70 attempts.

Plus, Ichiro gives you what all those other heavy-hitters don't: speed AND a rocket arm in the outfield. I don't think I'm out of line when I'm saying that he's the best all-around center fielder in baseball right now; doesn't strike out, scores a ton, has range for miles, gets 200+ hits every year. And, with Ichiro's conditioning, it doesn't look like he's going to get injured any time soon (knock on wood ... that's what she said) and it doesn't look like his skills are going to diminish. Granted, speed will always decline - he won't be legging these infield singles as often in that fifth year - but he hits balls outside of the strike zone that I've only seen Vlad do anything with. For a guy with such a small frame - not Vlad's massive arm-reach - that's pretty damned impressive.

And, for anyone saying $100 million is too much to pay, just remember that this is the direction baseball has been going in for years. I think $100 million is a bargain; with this team's spending potential, that's just a small piece of guaranteed production (unlike, say, Jason Giambi, who was a breakdown waiting to happen when he went to the Yankees).

I can't wait to see him sign on the dotted line; now let's not pull a Mitch Kupchak, let's get some fucking players around our superstar!