All the money isnt the same though...I think hes willing to forgo the huge payday but I dont think hes gonna be signing with one of the teams thats 300k or less, which takes a huge number of teams out of the running. Seattle just traded for more slot money today, which tells me they are going to be going after him hard and Id imagine Ichiro would help them in that endeavor as well.
There are 18 teams which are capped at 300k or less, I think this factor is going to significantly shorten the market. Monetary difference between the most and least is 3.5 million, vs 10k. Theres a large range at play there, I think hell still be looking for a decent bonus from whoever he signs with.
If I had to pick today I think Id rank id be between NYY and SEA. The Yankees offer the city, the prestige, all the bells and whistles and need the SP help that is Otanis biggest calling card. Seattle has a good history with Japanese imports and proved a good market for Ichiro which I think helps as well. I just cant see him completely giving away his signing for no real bonus money up front.
Id initially scoffed at the idea as well in some other talks, but signing with an NL team would make a ton of sense. He gets at bats whenever he pitches and could still be used in a pinch hitting role. Much as he wants to maintain the hitting I dont think theres any AL team that would be willing to use him at DH consistently and he was rarely used as an actual OF in Japan, much more as a DH. The Phillies have the most $ to offer of any of the NL teams, outside of Pittsburgh and Miam where I cant see him at all, and a good young core along with a decent sized market. It would be very interesting to see him go to a team like that, especially as with his age win now isnt exactly a must.
Either way Im super excited to see his talents in MLB next year, from all accounts hes a player that comes along so rarely that everyone should be offering the 20 million posting fee and at least giving it a run. The worst he can say is no!