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The Yankees would eat some of Ichiro’s salary in a trade

Mar 24, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

ichiro suzuki getty Getty Images

Jon Heyman has a report that makes baseball sense if and only if you still think of Ichiro as ICHIRO! and don’t acknowledge that he’s a fifth outfielder:

The Yankees are said willing to offset a part of Ichiro Suzuki’s $6.5-million salary in the right deal, sources said.

The Yankees would seek to receive a good prospect back but are said by rival executives amendable to paying down a portion of his $6.5 million salary under those circumstances.

Not sure what kind of “good prospect” one gets for a 40 year-old guy who hit .262/.297/.342 last season. It seems to me the only possible trade is “our moderately expensive bench veteran for your moderately expensive bench veteran.”

  1. mustbechris - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    “Are ya listening, Ruben Amaro? He’s 40 years old AND we’ll eat his salary.”

  2. spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Cashman ought to rethink this. At least until Ellsbury is fully recovered. It is hard to see how the Yanks are going to procure anybody of significant value, eating salary or not, and when one has options of Beltran and Soriano at the corner outfield spots, the still fleet Ichiro would look a lot better out there in the late innings than either of the aforementioned duo.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      They have plenty of AAAA outfielders available who could put up similar lines to Ichiro for 1/10th the cost.

      • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        But Ichiro could hit 30 home runs… if he wanted to!

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Offensively, I agree. But Ichiro is still a very good defender who can play CF if needed, although Gardner would probably be a better choice, and he can still steal a base upon request.

        Plus, his 2013 numbers may not be a fair representation of his talents. If he can near his 2012 output for the Yanks, those AAAA guys wouldn’t be optimal.

      • 18thstreet - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        I think Ichiro still has defensive value, and can probably lay down a well-placed bunt in his sleep.

        But it’s hard to see how it matters whether the Yankees 5th outfielder (assuming Soriano is the 4th outfielder) is Ichiro or some guy I’ve never heard of. They would have been better off never signing him, but here’s how bad 2013 was for the Yankees: according to fangraphs, he was their 5th most valuable position player, and one of only 5 position players to have a WAR greater than one.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=&ind=0&team=9&players=0

      • deathmonkey41 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        “18thstreet – Mar 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM
        I think Ichiro still has defensive value, and can probably lay down a well-placed bunt in his sleep”

        I’m pretty sure that violates club policy- as does hitting away from the shift.

      • wnadler - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        Yeah I wouldnt do it. He is without a doubt the best fielder they have. Soriano is only a DH now and Belly is not doing a full year. I like the young guys but they arent going to be better then Itchy. If anything I would be looking to trade Tex and Gardner. Get what value you can out of those 2. I would honestly pay Tex whole salary if it meant getting him out of the line up. Can you option a 20 mil 1st baseman to the minors?

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      Yes, Almonte is having a good Spring. But riding the pine may not be the ultimate developmental option for the youngster. If he would garner significant playing time then Ichiro would be more expendable, but the few ABs a late inning guy gets won’t help him in his progression.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        Honest question, have you had a chance to watch him in the last year+? His defense has slipped significantly where keeping him on as a defensive replacement isn’t a guarantee of success.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        Good point, haven’t watched him a lot. However, some advanced metrics still rate him as pretty good in RF, and Lord only knows, they are much more indicative of a player’s ability than “watching” him.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        I think it’s just that age has caught up with him. It’s obvious he still has the instincts, but when he tells his legs to go, they react a lot slower than they used to.

        However, he’s looked 10x better at the plate than Jeter. Oh my dog if they put the OF fence at the edge of the infield grass, I think Jeter might have one, maybe 2HR this ST.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        The “watching” comment was made to make you laugh, sorry if it didn’t work. And like Ichiro I haven’t watched Jeter a lot this Spring, but a .537 OPS is one ugly number.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        But your “dog” comment reminded me of my favorite all-time joke. Here goes; “Did you hear about the agnostic, dyslectic insomniac?” … “Stayed up all night wondering if there was a Dog?”

    • rje413diamond - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      Make a deal with Seattle. Yanks send Ichiro and one of there Catchers(if Cervelli, Yanks don’t eat any of Ichiro’s contract) for N. Franklin.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        I actually wondered if Seattle might not be a landing place for Ichiro, but Cervelli and Ichiro alone, aren’t going to get Franklin.

  3. Francisco (FC) - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    The Yankees would eat some of Ichiro’s salary in a trade

    Oh come on! You know all that ink is bad for you. We’re not talking leafy greens here. If the Yankees want to eat some salary I’ll trade them my celery for Ichiro’s unwanted salary. I could use a portion of 6.5 MM dollars.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      I am unavoidably reminded of Chester Cricket eating a two-dollar bill. He thought it was a leafy green!

  4. 1harrypairatesties - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    DO NOT TRADE ICHIRO !!!!!!!!!!!

    • bolweevils2 - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Why not? (Well, besides the fact that they couldn’t get squat for him)

      I could see how you might be of the opinion that they’d be be better off with a veteran player like him who really knows how to play the game right over some random minor leaguer as your 5th outfielder. But I can’t see while you’d feel so strongly over it to go into all caps and multiple exclamation points mode.

  5. 1harrypairatesties - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    DO NOT TRADE ICHIRO !!! !!! !!!

  6. blazenhawks - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Mariners Will take you back come retire as a Mariner like you should

  7. dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Guys, I think 1harrypairatesties wants the Yankees to trade Ichiro.

  8. nolasoxfan2012 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    The statement that the Yankees are willing to “offset part of Ichiro’s salary” in the “right deal” is ridiculous on so many levels. No one in their right mind would trade anything of even slight value for a 40-year old outfielder who played a full season last year and still only produced 1.4 WAR. On top of that, the statement implies that the Yankees would only eat part of his 6.5M salary. What would the Yankees have to get in the “right deal”? To me, Ichiro is a sunk cost. This is all a dance ’til they end up releasing him.

    • dolphinstruth - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      He didn’t play a full season. Girardi benched him 3 days a week.

      • 18thstreet - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        He appeared in 150 games.

      • genericcommenter - Mar 24, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        I’m willing to bet he was the worst hitter in baseball with 555 Plate Appearances.

  9. barrybondsisthealltimehomerunking - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    He’s had a great career but for the last 3-4 years he has no power and doesn’t draw walks, not a good combination.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      I hate to pile on an all-time great, but Ichiro NEVER had power, nor did he ever draw walks. What make him great was his unbelievable batting average (which created a very good OBP) and his fielding. I think the thing that’s changed for him is that he no longer has enough speed to leg out the infield singles.

      He’s like a slow power hitter whose flyballs can’t reach the fence any more. No, wait. He’s the opposite of that. But with his most important skill vanishing, it’s hard to see how he has much value to anyone.

  10. dolphinstruth - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Ichiro is still among the most dangerous hitters in the league, and top-notch leadoff man. The problem is that Clueless Joe Girardo shuffles his lineup daily, like a fool. Ichiro got no consistency last year thanks to Girardi batting him 7th one day, then benching him in favor of Ben Francisco, then batting him 8th, etc. And now they wanna get rid of Ichiro? Should get rid of Girardi instead., Even people who whine about Ichiro “only” hitting .260 last year have to realize that .260 was among the best averages on the Yankees!

    • dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      He’s batted .273/.305/.356 with an OPS+ around 86 over the last three years. And he’s a corner outfielder.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      What league are you watching?
      And what does dangerous mean?

  11. sparty0n - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Tigers! Tigers!

  12. sportsfan18 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Just WHY did the Yankees sign him the other yr to TWO seasons and the amount the did?

    It’s their fault they are in a position to have to offer to eat some of his salary to off load him.

    He shouldn’t be under contract for this season at all…

    • blue439 - Mar 25, 2014 at 2:02 AM

      Well let’s see. Could it be that two out of their three outfielders — Curtis Granderson and NIck Swisher — contracts were up at the end of the season and the Yankees had no intention of resigning them. Also, their third outfielder Brett Gardner played all of 12 games that season. The Yankees needed outfield help badly and were trying to make the playoffs, which they did.

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