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Yankees shopping Ichiro Suzuki

Dec 8, 2013, 3:58 PM EST

ichiro suzuki getty Getty Images

Brett Gardner trade rumors are all the rage at the moment, but he’s not the only Yankees outfielder on the block. This comes from beat writer Chad Jennings of New York’s Journal News:

According to one rival executive, the Yankees have also mentioned Ichiro Suzuki’s name in trade talks. There’s no indication that any sort of Ichiro trade is close, and his trade value is minimal at best. One baseball source questioned how well Ichiro would adjust to a fourth outfielder role, which is the way most teams are likely to value him.

Ichiro turned 40 years old in October and batted just .262/.297/.342 in 555 plate appearances this summer for the Yankees. He has a .305 on-base percentage and .661 OPS in his last 473 big league games.

Gardner would obviously fetch a much better return, but he’s also by far the better player. If the Yankees aren’t overwhelmed by a trade proposal for him, they can simply break up their outfield surplus by giving Ichiro away. A starting outfield of Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran would look pretty sharp.

Ichiro is set to make $6.5 million in 2014 — the final year of a two-year, $13 million contract.

  1. uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    “One baseball source questioned how well Ichiro would adjust to a fourth outfielder role, which is the way most teams are likely to value him.” That’s an interesting comment because as it stands right now he’s the fifth outfielder on the Yankees roster. If you are looking for playing time fourth is always better than fifth. That’s just my opinion.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      Right now I actually count 6 outfielders. Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, Ichiro, Soriano, and Wells. I am wondering if between the outfielders, Jeter, Teixeira, and A-rod (when/if not suspended) how the DH spot shakes out. I figure Gardner (if not traded) and Ellsbury get zero DH at bats. Beltran 25-30% DH. Wells (for now) would figure to be the fifth out fielder/ back up 1b. If McCann can really play a respectable 1b then Wells is obviously expendable. However in all honesty the idea of putting the # 1 catcher in the field makes me cringe. If you trade Gardner or Ichiro you almost guarantee a Wells/Soriano platoon in left. Soriano would figure to get a large chunk of the DH ab’s, probably 50%+ if Gardner and or Ichiro remain. Ichiro does seem to be the least versatile bat, being that I can’t see any reason for using him as a DH.
      So after that reasoning 2014 OF=
      Ellsbury-CF
      Gardner- LF
      Beltran- RF
      Ichiro- #4 (He can play all 3)
      Soriano DH/#5
      Wells- release.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        I don’t think Ichiro is ahead of Soriano on the depth chart. Yes he can play all 3 outfield positions but he brings virtually nothing to the table offensively at this point n his career. I think the Yankees at some point before spring training move or release both Ichiro and Wells. If the need arises for a 5th outfielder at some point they bring Almonte up at league minimum cost.

      • gloccamorra - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:52 AM

        Soriano started out as a second baseman for the Yankees. They have an opening there now, so why count him as an outfielder or DH?

      • cackalackyank - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:29 AM

        Soriano has said himself that he can’t play second. He was not at all a good 2B when he did play there.

  2. tfbuckfutter - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Too bad there isn’t a Yankees team out there to take the old Yankees contracts the Yankees don’t want.

    On a serious note, it IS too bad that the Yankees can make all the deals they want without having to actually think about or deal with the negative future consequences in a meaningful way.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      It’s only too bad if you’re not a Yankees fan. I think it’s too bad that teams that have very rich owners have artificially low payrolls and subject their fans to poor on field performance simply because of their greed. I think we all know who some of those teams are.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Only solution is a salary cap and a salary floor.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        And if anybody ought to know about greed….

      • albertmn - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Your point about the owners may be true in some cases. But, with the incredibly wide variance in what different teams get for local TV contracts, not all teams are playing with the same amount of money. So, while all of the owners are still rich, some would be losing money if they spent anywhere close to what the Yankees and Dodgers spent, so I can see why some don’t break the bank (especially for 10 year deals).

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:53 PM

        @ albertmn, I don’t disagree with much of your comment. What I object to is “lowering the bar” so that everyone is on the same playing field.

        There are always going to be inherent differences between cities with professional sports teams in cities like NY, LA, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, etc… then those in Tampa, KC, MN, Oak. etc…That’s just the way it is.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        spudchukar, from the location of your comment I presume it’s directed at me. I will refrain from replying. Have a good day.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:55 PM

        Any time any Yankee fan calls another franchise “greedy” it will illicit a response from me.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        @ spudchukar, please forgive me but to quote one of your comments earlier yesterday to me “did you even bother to read my comment”? Just so you know I didn’t call other franchises “greedy” I called some of the other team “owners” greedy for pocketing the millions and millions of dollars in their teams profits rather then investing in their team(s) and for the poor product they put on the field. To deny that fact is like walking around with blinders on. Have a good day.

        BTW, if being a Yankees fan and rooting for a team and ownership that year in and year out has been willing to spend whatever it takes to put the best possible product on the field then I plead guilty and I accept “your” definition of “greedy” ownership.

        Have a Good Day

      • bigharold - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        “…so I can see why some don’t break the bank (especially for 10 year deals).”

        The folks in Seattle would disagree.

  3. Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    If Cashman can give him away without eating any salary, it’s a massive win. More likely the Yanks have to eat most of what he’s owed.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      Maybe just half of his contract. At least lets hope so.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Why do you care who pays his salary? It’s not your money.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:02 PM

        Lets just say it doesn’t weigh on my mind or keep me awake at night but that still shouldn’t prevent me from expressing my opinion.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        It just seems to me that Yankee fans have no reason to care about salaries. There’s no limit to what your team is willing to spend, so your entire focus should be on fielding the best team possible.

        If trading Ichiro nets you a better player, I say do it.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        @ 18thstreet, no argument from me there.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        I really like chatting with you. You and SabathiaWouldBeGoodInTheEighth are good people.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:13 PM

        @ 18thstreet, the feeling is mutual. Take care.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      If Brian Cashman truly has no budget, then it doesn’t matter. If he does, then whatever he saves on Ichiro is money he can put into upgrading the team elsewhere. I’d love for the Yankees to just spend $250 million and buy all the players, but that doesn’t seem to be the reality they’re in.

    • dylanthom2013 - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      I doubt they could get any sort of quality prospect(s) in return if they don’t eat any salary. At best they’d probably end up with some guy who was left unprotected for the Rule V.

  4. flamethrower101 - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Um, why did the Yankees sign Ichiro for 2 years again? Made no sense then and makes less sense now.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Because ownership wanted to capitalize on his 3,000th MLB hit. Oops.

      • flamethrower101 - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        Should’ve signed him for 3 years then. And even that’s not a guarantee. Shame too. In his prime Ichiro was one of those guys you just had to stop and watch. Now, not so much.

    • anxovies - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      Because they needed some offense in the OF with Granderson on the DL and Wells not producing. He did OK at first but wore down at the end of the year.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Because they had no better ideas.

  5. mrpinkca - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Probably over the hill veteran outfielder available? Somewhere in San Francisco Brian Sabean is flips open his RAZR and starts to dial.

  6. insidefastball - Dec 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Why not offer the Cubs Ichiro, Gardner and Nunez for Jeff Samardzija? The Cubs have a terrible outfield (and lets be honest….some team really needs to put Nunez out of his misery in the infield and move him to LF) and Ichiro and Gardner would give them a couple useful veterans. Plus, Ichiro’s presence might help with sagging attendance at Wrigley and he could help the team grab a few sponsors.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      They can offer it, but two years of Samardzija at arb prices is worth more than one year of Gardner at arb price, Nunez is worthless and Ichiro has negative value. Besides, Theo’s not looking for a return whose value lies entirely in 2014.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      3 for one, even THAT three for one is not going to happen. Samardzija is good but he has not faced a steady diet of teams with a DH batting instead of a pitcher. I do not think he has a big future with an AL team. Maybe Gardner and one of the other and a “prospect”. (Note prospect is in quotes because those come few and far and between in NYY land.) However, I still think if Theo wants to deal Samardzija he needs to call NL teams.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        Oh, No, Please! Not the dreaded “he cannot pitch in the AL, cause they have a DH” mythology again.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        There are guys who can’t pitch in the AL who succeed in the NL, but that’s determined by scouting and profile, not the mere fact that they have only pitched in the NL.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        And the same number of Al pitchers who cannot pitch in the NL. And that number would be zero.

      • dylanthom2013 - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        Yeah Spudchukar, just conveniently ignore Dickey and Garza who got destroyed after they moved to the AL.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Guys with fringy fastballs and less than pinpoint command, guys that don’t have that third good pitch you need to turn over a lineup multiple times, guys who give up a lot of fly balls without solid K and BB numbers to offset… they do a little better in the NL because the NL has, on the whole, somewhat larger ballparks and slightly worse hitters. The DH is part of it, although not the whole story.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        Actually ignore Garza… he pitched just fine in his seasons with Tampa and Minnesota. He had a bad two months. The effect is more subtle than can be captured by pointing to anecdotes.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        So your lone example to date is a Knuckleball specialist. Terrific “control subject” doctor.

      • spudchukar - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        There is some validity to the idea that certain pitcher’s strengths translate better to certain situations, but what has been stressed here isn’t geometry, but psychology.

        One quick point to illustrate how quickly a number of points can be dismissed, is the National League, may undergo the same type of analysis when it comes to hitters.

        There are so many variables that enter the equation, simple anecdotal rememberances, are wildly inefficient support studies.

        The underlying bias remains, which is the AL is somehow superior, and it becomes the jumping off point, which is inherently absurd, and more importantly extraordinarily self-defeating. I guarantee you, any GM who spends a second trying to justify such thinking, will be falling far behind any brass that recognizes the notion is pure hogwash.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        The notion that the AL is superior comes from the massive sample size of interleague games demonstrating the AL’s superiority. Last year was the first time in forever the results were even close. The anecdotes don’t prove anything, but the year-in, year-out interleague dominance is reasonably scientific.

    • Uncle Charlie - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Gardner is the only one of those three with a modicum of value but considering how far the Cubs are from competing trading for a 31 year old outfielder doesn’t make much sense. Plus, the Cubs middle infield is loaded and attendance is down because the team is painfully bad, adding a geriatric LFer won’t boost ticket sales.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        Why would the Cubs want a player who will be a free agent after 2014?

  7. jhb64 - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Maybe the mets will take him

  8. cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I think that NYY needs to find a way to keep Ichiro. Really talk with him about being that fourth outfielder. I think he will be a plus to have around when you are competing for Tanaka. Let’s say that LA, Seattle, and NYY are the three teams left on Tanka’s $20 million tour. I can’t see having Ichiro-san and Kuroda around to give the tour of the Big Apple hurt the process in addition to the pile of $ that will be on the table.

    • dylanthom2013 - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      If NYY is serious about getting under the $189 mil threshold, why hang on to a $6.5 million depth OF’er when you get get those types of guys for a lot less on the FA market or from your AAA-team?

      • cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:18 PM

        If it helps you lure the best FA pitcher to your roster yes. There aren’t that many FA OF that would cost much less. …and as far as the farm system….we are talking about a farm system whose OF prospects are a year OR TWO away, if they even pan out. Recently a lot of that NYY prospect pool hasn’t really lived up to the projections.

  9. aphillieated - Dec 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Phillies.

  10. humpalumpagus - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    For purely sentimental reasons, I hope the Mariners pick him up so he could retire with them. He’d be one of their best three outfielders now and could be a good fourth outfielder if they pick up Choo

  11. pastabelly - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    I don’t understand the Yankee moves this offseason. They had a glut of outfielders and a shortage of starters and relievers. They went out and overpaid and went too many years on a Ellsbury and Beltran and watched as the Tigers signed Nathan and Dodgers signed Wilson. Now they need a second baseman and their only asset to deal is the one outfielder whose cost is controlled. It seems like their plan is to spend, spend, spend and then try to get rid of as many bad contracts as possible.

    • dylanthom2013 - Dec 8, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      Maybe they can deal from their glut of OF’ers, e.g. Gardner to get a decent 2B’man. CIN needs a CF’er with Choo gone. Phillips for Gardner?

    • retief1954 - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Seems to me that’s been their “plan” every year since Big Stein bought the team. That’s the big reason I love to see them fail every year, “failure” being not winning the WS. Most years, they fail despite the absurd amounts of money they spend. Long may it continue.

  12. louhudson23 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Beltran is,at this point, a DH who can play the field occasionally,giving Soriano a rest at DH ….Ellsbury is an injury waiting to happen.Wells is a serviceable OF who can also play some 1B,if needed. Ichiro has,unfortunately become a less than viable option who doesn’t really have a place anymore. They had better hang on to Gardner.

  13. louhudson23 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    I meant to say Beltran occasionally plays the field to let Soriano take a break and DH once in a while……

  14. jdillydawg - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    The Mariners outght to bring him back. Sign him for another 10 years, pay him about $200 million. Call it good.

    Not like he needs to perform there. He’ll continue to draw fans until he’s 50, the Mariners will continue to make money, and they’ll continue to dwell in the cellar.

    It’s a win win for everyone if they bring him back.

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