The Mariners' next general manager, whoever takes over for Pat Gillick, will have some daunting challenges. \nShould he try to re-sign Mike Cameron? How about Arthur Rhodes? \nShould he trade or keep Freddy Garcia? Can he move Jeff Cirillo? \nAll of those may pale in importance with how the new head man handles negotiations with three-time All-Star right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. \nIchiro, who signed a three-year contract before the 2001 season, isn't a free agent and can't become one before the end of the 2006 season. He's not going to be traded. But he is eligible for salary arbitration, meaning that if no deal can be struck, an arbiter will determine the player's salary next February. \nAnd, agent Tony Attanasio said yesterday, Ichiro would not find that acceptable. \n"We are not looking for a one-year deal. Or a two- or three- or five- or 10-year deal," Attanasio said. "What we are looking for is fair representation of what the club thinks this player is worth. \n"If we cannot agree to terms, if they force it into arbitration, Ichiro will never voluntarily sign another contract with them." \nThat being said, Attanasio expects a deal to be struck and arbitration to be avoided. The agent was talking to the club yesterday about Ichiro and his other clients, Mark McLemore, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Ryan Franklin, and will continue to do so. \nBut he made it clear Ichiro doesn't want to go to arbitration. Not now, not ever. \n"He would consider that such a slap in the face," Attanasio said. "A real loss of face." \nIchiro, who made US$3 million in 2003 plus salary bonuses that nearly doubled that, has been one of baseball's brightest stars since coming to Seattle from the Orix BlueWave of the Pacific League in Japan. He won the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in 2001, and he's started three consecutive All-Star Games. \nWhat the Mariners have to decide is how that plays financially. Is he worth Manny Ramirez/Shawn Green/Sammy Sosa money, something in the US$16 million-US$18 million range? Is he more like Larry Walker or Ken Griffey Jr., down in the US$10 million-US$12 million range? \n"Ichiro knows the number," Attanasio said without stating it. \nThe number has probably gone down some, with Ichiro having had successive seasons with second-half falloffs. After hitting .350 as a rookie and winning the MVP, he fell to .321 in 2002 and to .312 this season.
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
‘JOB NOT DONE’: The outfielder, who hit a homer and stole two bases, said that players ‘have to be good at all aspects of game all the time and not take plays off’ Los Angeles outfielder Mookie Betts put himself in rarefied company with a standout performance in the Dodgers’ Game 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the 116th World Series on Tuesday. Betts sparked the Dodgers’ four-run fifth inning with a walk and two stolen bases, joining Babe Ruth as the only players in World Series history to record such an inning. After walking to lead off the inning, Betts stole second base. After Corey Seager walked, Betts reached third on a double steal, giving the Dodgers runners on second and third with one out. Betts took an aggressive stance off the bag
TENNIS Federer eyes Australia Roger Federer is practicing pain-free after undergoing two knee surgeries this year and said that he expects to return to the circuit at the Australian Open in January. The 39-year-old Swiss reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park at the start of the year, but missed the rest of the season after undergoing a second arthroscopic procedure on his right knee. “I’m on the right track,” he told German-language magazine Schweizer Illustrierte. “I’m gradually coming back, but I’m going to take my time and don’t want to put any pressure on myself. I will only take part in a
Marcus Rashford once again sank Paris Saint-Germain after netting the decisive goal in a 2-1 Champions League win in the French capital. Rashford, who scored the winning spot-kick when United knocked PSG out two seasons ago, drilled home a low shot three minutes from the end, which won a thrilling Group H contest at a near-empty Parc des Princes. United had taken the lead in the 23rd minute when Bruno Fernandes slotted home from the spot at the second attempt, but Anthony Martial inexplicably headed Neymar’s corner into his own net 10 minutes after the break. The rest of the match was an