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Ichiro Suzuki “strongly wants to stay with the Yankees”

Oct 25, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT


Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke to an unnamed “person close to” Ichiro Suzuki who says the impending free agent “strongly wants to stay with the Yankees.”

According to Sherman’s source Suzuki “enjoyed playing in a professional, winning atmosphere with so many contemporaries near his age range” and a one-year contract “in the $5 million-to-$8 million range might get it done.”

Nick Swisher is also a free agent, so the Yankees could let him walk and re-sign Suzuki to take over as the full-time right fielder. That would create an excellent defensive outfield with Suzuki and Brett Gardner flanking center fielder Curtis Granderson, but devoting both corner outfield spots to hitters with minimal power isn’t exactly the Yankees’ usual way.

Suzuki struggled in his final one-and-a-half seasons for the Mariners, hitting just .268 with a .643 OPS in 256 games, but then hit .322 with a .794 OPS in 67 games for the Yankees to basically duplicate his career numbers at age 38.

  1. whatthehellisansky - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:42 AM


    • dcfan4life - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Makes sense, as long as the Yankees realize they NEED a guy like Suziki who gets on base and not just another power hitting outfielder with so so defense who strikes out a lot.

      • genericcommenter - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        So who is this guy who is “like Suzuki” and also “gets on base”?

      • dcfan4life - Oct 25, 2012 at 7:57 PM

        Umm well since the only guy like Suzuki is Suzuki…

    • badintent - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      Of course it gets done, just the tickets for Japanese fans and Japanese companies will pay his salary twice over ! And he can teach the other Yankees -sans how to actually make contact with said baseball with said bat. A-Rod can learn to bunt ball, advance runner. Domo arigato. Then there’s the 3000 hit home game, the Geshia girl contest, and he can woo Yu Darvish with his “G Cup” porn star girlfriend to Yankees. The list goes on and on.

  2. natslady - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    with so many contemporaries near his age range…


    • gammagammahey - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      The Phillies could make a run at him using that as a selling point too.

    • jdillydawg - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      That’s pretty funny. But given that the average age of the Mariners is about 14, I can see his point.

  3. number42is1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    For what he is asking we STRONGLY want him back

  4. ncphilliesguy - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Ichiro would be a good fit in Philly on a one or two year deal. Release the Ninja!

    • protius - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      Philly isn’t a good fit,

      Ichiro walks up-right. He would be out of place on a team of primates.

  5. bloodysock - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    That picture makes him appear more suited for a role in Home Alone 38.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    1 year deal? Why not?

  7. Kevin S. - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Meh, I don’t think Cashman’s going to let philosophy stop him from building value. Unless it’s all a smokescreen, the Yanks are in a holding pattern regarding their long-term roster construction until right after Opening Day 2014, so short of Justin Upton falling into their price range prospect-wise, I could definitely see him going with a three-CF (ironically with the worst one actually playing center) setup for a year and avoiding the cost in years that acquiring a power-hitting replacement for Swisher would require. Getting twenty fewer HR from right field isn’t going to crush the Yankees, especially if it’s offset by gains in speed and defense.

  8. pisano - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    This is a win win for the Yankees, he’s not asking for the moon and he’s a lot more consistant than Swisher, and Swisher’s act was getting old, especially the strikeouts.

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM


  9. heathater4lifeson - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Considering ichiro was the only Yankee who could hit this past postseason they should bring him back

    • protius - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:48 PM


      Your approach is a little short sighted. Granted, Ichiro hit during the playoffs, but is he the kind of player that can get the team to the play offs?

      Swisher made his contributions during the season, i.e., he helped the team get to the play offs. For some unknown reason, he does not perform well during the play offs, this does not mean that he doesn’t bring anything to the table.

  10. cdeangelus - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    As a long time Yankee fan, it was a pleasure to be able to see him play this year. I would absolutely love to have him back in one corner, with Gardner in the other. Granderson’s range in centerfield would need to be approximately the width of a bowling alley.

  11. beearl - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Except that they shouldn’t be playing both Gardner and Ichiro in the corners. Gardner is clearly the best OF they have and clearly the best option in CF. So move Granderson to RF where his lack of ability to read the ball off the bat won’t be exposed as much. Or to LF since Ichiro has much more experience in RF coupled with a better arm. Might be an ego blow to Granderson to move to LF, but screw these guys…enough with the coddling. Girardi needs to step up and use his players where they would be most effective.

  12. paperlions - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Who are all of these nameless people that work in MLB? Everyone I know has a name. Were these people never given names or were they forced to relinquish them to be hired by front offices?

  13. slartibartfast4242 - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    This is a win-win situation. They should also think hard about moving Gardner to center and Granderson to right, leaving Ichiro in left.

    One year time frame will hopefully be enough for Tyler Austin to get called up. Even Mason Williams (probably 2 years away) or Slade Heathcott (also likely 2 years away, and a bit inconsistent/ impatient/ injury prone to my liking) might tear up the minors and be ready by that time.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      Whoa, slow your roll there. I dig Tyler Austin as much as anybody else, but he played two games at Trenton last year. He’s more than a year out. Even Opening Day 2014 is completely unrealistic. Unless he takes a ridiculous leap again this season through two levels, I don’t see him up before ASG 2014 at the absolute earliest.

      • slartibartfast4242 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Hence the qualifier “hopefully.” I love seeing our young ‘uns come up and become a force like our catcher Jesus Montero *cough *cough.
        He’s been very consistent throughout the lower levels and was unfazed by the playoffs at Trenton. Who’s to say he won’t go on a tear and be our Mike Trout (A guy can hold out hope, can’t he?)

    • yankeesgameday - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      Don’t forget Dante Bichette’s kid.

  14. yankeesgameday - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Sign Ichiro, let Swisher walk, but do whatever matching thing they need to do to get a draft pick for him and THEN TRADE Gardner. You commit to bringing Granderson’s average back up around .275. If he hits 12 fewer hone runs but recognizes pitches better next year i’d much rather see a combination if the Detroit Granderson and the NY Granderson.

    But Gardner as part of a package that might bring back a power hitting left fielder would be great. Trading granderson and moving Gardner to Center would just be a wash because you still need a new Left Fielder then. Keep Granderson, who CAN hit for power and average, and get more power in Left. Gardner has no pop and has proven he can’t lead off (and he’s blocked there anyway).

    Gardner is the one who needs to go, or be demoted to a bench guy.

    • slartibartfast4242 - Oct 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      “Gardner is the one who needs to go, or be demoted to a bench guy.”
      Why the Gardner hate? He’s one of my favorite players. Good OBP guy with exceptional defence is not going to ride the bench.

      If anyone, may be it is Granderson they need to trade, and not for outfield help. Yankees have plenty of outfield depth in the minors and no one worth mentioning in the infield. Need at shortstop is approaching faster than people realize. Don’t let Jeter’s offensive output fool you into thinking otherwise.

      • yankeesgameday - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Because, as I wrote, if you keep Gardner and trade granderson its a wash because you life 40+ home runs a year and you still need to find another left fielder. It makes more sense to me to make sure you work with granderson to bring his average up because you keep his pop.

        Gardner will never have power and as a singles hitter is never going to approach the 200 hit per year mark because he prefers to walk than swing the bat but gets called out on too many close pitches. I used to lobby for him to replace jeter at lead off but he doesn’t swing at hittable pitches often enough.

        His defense is great, sure. And he plays hard, but granderson is the better long term investment. if Ichiro is in right bring in someone with pop in left.

        Or Heck, because LF is so large in Yankee stadium leave Ichiro in left and get a stud for RF and still trade Gardner.for value

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        And he plays hard, but granderson is the better long term investment. if Ichiro is in right bring in someone with pop in left

        We must have a different measure of value then (re: Granderson vs Gardner). For one, Granderson will be paid something of the order of 10+X the amount Gardner will this year as Gardner is still arbitration eligible. For two, Gardner is actually a good defensive player, rates as one of the best, while Granderson is getting worse. Gardner is also much younger, and still steals bases which Granderson has seemed to avoid altogether.

        Yes Granderson has the better bat, but, much like the MVP discussion, there’s more to baseball than just hitting home runs. If the Yanks want to get under $189M in ’14, they’ll need someone like Gardner to play because defense/speed guys with good OBPs are severely undervalued.

    • cackalackyank - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Yeah sorry, but if someone needs to go it is Granderson , hs poor reads, and his 200 stirkeouts. I will take a double with two guys on any day over a solo home run after 3 strikeouts. Replace Granderson with a right handed hitting OF with some power. Send some of the OF prospects to Arizona Fall league, winter ball in order to move them along so they will be ready when Iciro is retired and they lose contol of Gardner.

      • yankeesgameday - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Granderson IS the guy you are talking about. Bad coaching led him to get pull happy. If they push him to revert back to his Detroit form granderson will be the guy hitting the gaps instead of swinging for the fences. He needs tweaking, not abandonnent. Gardner is utterly replaceable. He’s just a speedy, light hitting, good defender with no sense on the base path outside of being fast. He never knows when to steal, takes the pitch he should drive and swings at the ball in the dirt. If Ichiro is on this team he does everything Gardner dies, but better. So get tix of Gardner and tweak Granderson into a hybrid if his two styles.

  15. raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Agree with slarti…the Yankees do need infield help. Rodriguez will be healthy for the first time in 2 years, so expect better production from him. However, even if pain free when he returns, Jeter’s ankle will not be 100%. He will be slower, and both his offensive and defensive production is likely to suffer as a result.

  16. tommyfroy - Oct 25, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    They should definitely let Swisher walk, sign Ichiro to a one-year and trade Granderson while his stock is high for some prospects. Then go get an outfielder who’ll strike out a whole lot less and balance out the power hitters in the infield. Any outfield position will do as you can use Gardner and Ichiro to fill Left, Center and Right in a couple of configurations.

    That’s my 2-cents…

  17. openseason51 - Oct 25, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    When we lived and worked in Tokyo, Ichiro was a kid just making a big impact. He is very loyal player, hence all those bad years with Seattle with amazing stats. He will bat .338-.350 for the year and that small park, he will have more HR than you plan. Give him a contract.

  18. doclolly - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    ” but devoting both corner outfield spots to hitters with minimal power isn’t exactly the Yankees’ usual way.”

    yea they need more homerun hitters that go cold in october and cant get a hit to save their life.

    sign Ichiro was the 2nd best hitter on the yankees this post season behind jeter

  19. nysportsexchange - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    He still has enough left in his tank to be an important contributor to the Yankees next year.

  20. lgwelsh1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    This is a no brainer for the Yankess. Ichiro is a sure bet .300 hitter in that stadium easy. He also has a cannon for an arm, steals bases, draws walks. The guy is a top 25 player still at 38 years old and he only wants $5-8 million a year? LOL Sign him now!

  21. anxovies - Oct 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    yankeesgameday: “Bad coaching is what turned Granderson from being delegated to a platoon player to an everyday player. He couldn’t hit LH pitching until Long changed his swing and approach. His present problems are his own fault. You can’t blame Long for swings at balls in the dirt or a foot wide. I read that he may need contact lenses, hope they work next year.

    • yankeesgameday - Oct 26, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      Granderson’s struggles were the same struggles everyone on the team faced. To a man the ENTIRE roster was not prepared to face Detroit. There was no gameplan, terrible advanced scouting and zero adjustments made from at bat to at bat and game to game.

      That is not left to the player alone. Those are coaching jobs and in football coordinators lose their jobs over shoddy preparation. You just can’t leave granderson’s struggles at his feet alone unless Kevin long or Giradi were in his face screaming off camera.

      But the whole team was lost and that equals organizational failure. Granderson should not be tossed away so quickly.

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