Ichiro Officially Back with the Yankees

More of this, please. - The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Two years, $13 million.

Ichiro $13M 2-yr deal with all done, pending physical

Well, that closes that scintillating offseason storyline. Ichiro Suzuki will be back for a pair of seasons in New York with the Yankees after impressing them with his .322/.340/.454 batting line in half a season. It's a risk since he had not played like that since his last All-Star season of 2010, but unfortunately, there simply are not many starting options in the outfield at the moment and the Yankees have a Nick Swisher-shaped hole in right field. Ichiro carries the possibility of decent offensive production in right field to go with still-above-average speed and defense, especially back at his natural position in right field. The limited power might not even be a problem if Mariners blogger Jeff Sullivan is correct. It sure looked like he was comfortable firing '09 Johnny Damon-esque bullets into the short porch.

There's still plenty of time left in the offseason for a trade to acquire another outfielder, but at the moment, the formation of Ichiro, Curtis Granderson, and Brett Gardner appears to be the team's trio on Opening Day. If so, boy, I can't remember the last time the Yankees had such a light-hitting outfield. I might have been an infant. Even if Grandy gets 40 homers, as a group, they might not get to 60. It's not all bad though--Ichiro's second half was great, Grandy's power is not negligible, and we've seen what an all-around weapon Gardner can be when healthy.

As it is, the Yankees did get a slight discount from Ichiro on that second year after receiving some competition from the Phillies and Giants. Was it unfortunate that they had to give Ichiro a second year? Absolutely. That being said, $6.5 million committed to next year is not that much--at $86.725 mil, they will still have about $100 million to work with on Cano's probable big free-agent deal, Jeter's likely-exercised player option, and arbitration. Many teams operate their entire squad on payrolls under $100 million. This is not an impossibility.

Who knows? Maybe Ichiro's second half last year was not a small sample size mirage, and he really did take to playing competitive baseball in Yankee Stadium. Maybe Sullivan's projection of Ichiro's power is accurate. Maybe that will lead to his best season in a few years. Maybe the Yankees also stand to generate big revenue from the increased Japanese media coverage they missed after Hideki Matsui's departure in 2009. Maybe I'm fiendishly overusing the word maybe, but that's exactly what Ichiro is. It's hard to know what to expect from a near-40-year-old, even if he is a future Hall of Famer.

Pete Rose, a guy who was decent at baseball and someone to whom Ichiro is often compared, had a pretty terrible age-39 season in 1980 and recovered to hit .325/.391/.390 in '81 at age 40. We'll see if our generation's Rose can do the same a year younger (perhaps without the gambling).

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker