Ichiro Lands in the Big Apple
After being mentioned in trade talks the past few weeks, Ichiro Suzuki has a new home.
The 38-year old Japanese star was acquired from the Seattle Mariners by the New York Yankees on Monday in exchange for two minor league pitchers. Ichiro had spent all 11-plus seasons of his Major League career with the Mariners, earning 10 Gold Gloves and winning two batting titles in the process.
Reliever D.J. Mitchell and right-handed starting pitcher Danny Farquhar were sent to Seattle in the trade. The 25-year old Mitchell has appeared in four games this season for the Yankees, posting a 3.86 ERA and 2.14 WHIP.
With six-game lead in the American League East Division and the recent news that Brett Gardner has officially been lost for the season, the Yankees moved quickly to shore up their need for more stability at the corner outfielder position.
Andruw Jones and Dewayne Wise had been filling in for Gardner, but Ichiro figures to provide New York with an everyday left fielder that still has defensive range for his age and a more consistent bat. The question is where Ichiro will bat in the Yankees’ lineup with Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter established as the team’s leadoff hitters for the first half of the season. Ichiro has been a historically good at getting on base, but has recorded his lowest on-base percentage of his career thus far this season at .288; he has averaged a .366 percentage for his career.
The first Japanese-born position player in MLB history has a .261 batting average, four home runs, and 28 runs batted in through 95 games in 2012, to go along with 15 stolen bases. He is in the final year of his contract and undoubtedly was acquired to put New York in better position to win its first World Series title since 2009.
Coincidentally, Ichiro will suit up for the first time in a Yankees uniform in Seattle against the Mariners this week.