SEATTLE -- For over a decade, Ichiro Suzuki was the face of the Mariners. He was a fan favorite and a star player, and so it was a surprise to the baseball community to hear Monday he had been traded to the Yankees.
Ichiro's former Mariner teammates were just as shocked.
"We had not heard anything until the TV announced it a few minutes ago," Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders said. "We all kind of looked around. Everyone ... couldn't believe it. He was the face of the franchise. It's sad to see him go."
"He's absolutely an amazing hitter. He's one of the best hitters of all time -- there's so much you can learn from a guy like that," infielder Kyle Seager said. "Something that I've learned from him is his routine. He has the same thing he does every day. He does the same swings, he takes the same approach."
There was less shock involved for manager Eric Wedge, who knew the Mariners were in talks to trade Ichiro, and he sees it as an opportunity to give more playing time to young players.
"Obviously it will be considerably different, but it gives us the opportunity to play another young player on a more consistent basis," Wedge said. "Obviously we've been giving a lot of young players a lot of opportunities here and consistent exposure to this level, and we want to continue to do that.
"Ultimately it's about the respect that we all have in the organization for Ichiro, and giving him the opportunity to go in a different direction in his career. Ichiro's been a great player here for so many years, he's a Hall of Fame player, as far as I'm concerned. This just gives him another opportunity to do something else, in regards to his career."
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.