I’m sure that my jaw wasn’t the only one that hit the floor right at six o’clock when YES Network’s Jack Curry tweeted that the Yankees had acquired one of the best outfielders of the past decade, Ichiro Suzuki, from the Seattle Mariners. This deal came completely out of left field, and at first glance, looks like a low-risk, high-reward deal which could pay off quite nicely for the Yankees. Ichiro’s contract is up after the season, and the Yankees will only have to pay $2.25MM on his contract over the remainder of the season.
Yankees acquire OF Ichiro Suzuki from Mariners:
Suzuki has struggled mightily at the plate since the start of the 2011 season. After ten straight years of an OPS of at least .747, Ichiro posted a woeful .645 mark last season, and is currently at .642 through 95 games this season. Suzuki, who spent his first ten seasons in Major League Baseball well above .300 with his batting average, dropped to .272 last season and is currently at .261 this season. However, with Brett Gardner finished for the season and the Yankees running Raul Ibanez out to left field on a regular basis, this is a deal they had to make. Even if Ichiro is only a shell of himself at the plate, he is a significant defensive upgrade for the Yankees in the outfield. Because of the cash considerations acquired, the Yankees will pay just $2.25MM of his salary.
Mariners acquire RHPs D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar
In regards to what the Yankees gave up for the 10-time All-Star, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar is a small price to pay. Farquhar was on his fourth organization in two months, and though he may eventually find a home in middle relief, he had no use to the Yankees beyond minor league depth. With Mitchell, the Yankees surrendered a 25 year old starter who has a chance to be a successful back-of-the-rotation starter someday, but for now is better served in middle-to-long relief. In four games with New York this season, Mitchell is sporting a 3.86 ERA. He is 6-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 15 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.
All in all, the Yankees took a miniscule risk to bring in a big-name outfielder who could be rejuvenated by the excitement of a pennant race. Ichiro has unquestionably struggled in the pitcher’s paradise that is Safeco Field over the past year and a half. However, I’m more than willing to take a chance, as one has to also understand how difficult it must be to keep up the motivation for continued success after being part of a losing franchise which is constantly rebuilding for over a decade.
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