CineSport—Ichiro Suzuki was sent to the Yankees while Detroit received Omar Infante & Anibal Sanchez. Will Ryan Dempster be dealt next? CineSport's Tara Petrolino & Sporting News' Anthony Witrado discuss.
It’s as weird to say as it is to see him in pinstripes: Ichiro is a Yankee.
With a return this season unlikely for Brett Gardner, the Yankees had the need for a defensive corner outfielder with speed. It just so happens that this speedy right fielder has more than 2500 hits in the 12 years he has played in MLB.
His BA and OBP are at career lows, but a trade to the team with baseball’s best record will rejuvenate him. He has hit far better on the road than at Safeco Field this season and has good numbers at Yankee stadium. The 314-foot “short porch” in right field will play to Ichiro’s strengths, giving him a chance to improve upon his power numbers.
As good as his bat can potentially be, fans are even more excited about the speed that he will bring to New York. Gardner was the only player in their lineup with plus-speed capabilities, something that they greatly missed after he was injured. Ichiro brings this element back to the Yankees, adding a speed threat at the bottom of the lineup (he will hit eighth for the time being).
He also turns a weak defensive position into a defensive strength in left field, as he is an immediate upgrade from the Raul Ibanez/Andrew Jones/Dewayne Wise platoon. The Yankees will be able to keep Ibanez’ bat in the lineup as a DH and Jones will still be a fixture against left-handed pitchers.
This deal greatly benefits the Yankees for the long term as well. With both Ichiro and Nick Swisher becoming free agents after the 2012 season, the Yankees could save a lot of money by re-signing Ichiro instead of Swisher. Swisher will be looking for a much longer, more expensive contract, which the Yankees will not be crazy about pursuing. Ichiro, meanwhile, could be signed for the next two seasons for less than $10 million. This would give top outfield prospect Mason Williams the time he needs to develop and get to the majors.
The Yankees have added a 10-time All-Star, while only having to give up two low level prospects (D.J. Mitchell, Danny Farquhar.) General Manager Brian Cashman has worked his magic again, and his team will benefit immensely. They addressed one of the only glaring holes on the team, which added to their appeal as a World Series favorite.