Not all rumors are created equal. Some of them make you shrug. Some of them are so ridiculous you can barely even take them seriously, let alone the person who said it. The Orioles were attached to one of the latter types of rumors on Thursday afternoon, with Jon Heyman writing that the venerable Ichiro Suzuki "is receiving some consideration" from the team.
The Orioles, you may have heard, are out there looking for outfielders. It's hard to imagine they could possibly be so desperate to consider Ichiro an upgrade over anything they have. At every turn this offseason, they have sounded a confident tone about their internal options. Not that Dan Duquette is likely to come out and say that his current options are terrible.
Rolling with Steve Pearce, Alejandro De Aza, and David Lough in some combination for the corner outfield spots doesn't sound like the greatest of options. The 41-year-old Ichiro brings very little to the party other than the vague possibility of a 3,000 hit chase. From 2001-2010, Ichiro hit over .300 every season. That's pretty good. He hasn't topped .285 since, which is what happens when a baseball player gets old. Foot speed and bat speed decrease and they aren't as good as they used to be.
Even with the good fortune of a .346 BABIP in 2014, Ichiro only had a slash line of .284/.324/.340. He nearly had a career high in strikeouts in a single season despite appearing at the plate only 385 times on the season.
As far as that possibility of a 3,000 hit chase, he has 2,844 hits to his credit since joining MLB. That means he only needs 156 more. That's not a lot, but he hasn't gotten so many hits in either of the last two seasons. Unless he's found the fountain of youth, the lost parts of his game probably aren't coming back.
Duquette and the Orioles don't need us to tell them this. Maybe this rumor is one of those agent trying to gin up interest type stories. Maybe when the Orioles "considered" Ichiro it was to laugh at the possibility of him signing there or anywhere. Maybe they will manage to sign him and I'll look like an idiot, which would hardly be the first time.
Finding players on the scrap heap and seeing what they have left is something that Duquette likes to do. It's worked out for the O's at times. That's where he found Nate McLouth in 2012, after all. But those guys all get minor league deals until they prove there is something left in the tank. Ichiro would fit in that category generally, though the O's have never tried to revive someone quite like him.
If it somehow turns out that he really is desperate enough to take a minor league deal here, well, there's little loss to the O's. It's not like there's anyone who matters who'd be blocked in the Norfolk outfield by his presence.
As usual, keep in mind the standard rule of baseball rumors: Probably nothing will happen. When you follow the Orioles, this is all the more true.