This has the feel of a band breaking up. Ichiro Suzuki is no longer with the Seattle Mariners, now he is a part of the New York Yankees. Ichiro, 38, is in the final year of his multi-year deal with the Mariners – so while it is shocking Ichiro is done with the Mariners – it makes a lot of sense for both teams involved.
The New York Yankees have been looking for a third outfielder ever since Brett Gardner went down with an injury. Since Gardner went down, the left field position has been a revolving door of past their prime veterans, so it only makes sense the Yankees acquired another one.
Ichiro still has defensive value – his 15.6 UZR is one of the highest in baseball – but his bat has waived bye-bye to him a long time ago. So far this season, Ichiro has a slash-line of .261/.288/.353/.641. Not very good for the career .322 hitter. But Ichiro’s defensive prowess will come in handy for the Bombers.
With Curtis Granderson having one of his worst defensive seasons to date, Ichiro can give the Yankees the gold glove defense they have been missing from Gardner. And even though Ichiro’s offensive numbers are down across the board, the idea of him hitting in Yankee Stadium is a scary one.
Any left-handed hitter has a chance to resurrect their career playing in Yankee Stadium, and I don’t think there is a better hitter suited for a career resurrection like Ichiro.
Baseball numbers aside, it’s going to be weird seeing Ichiro wear the pinstripes. Ichiro and the Mariners is the other thing this country has seen. Ichiro is another one of those polarized sabermetricall guys. Along with players like Derek Jeter and Adam Dunn, you will find guys that overrate Ichiro constantly and some people underrate Ichiro constantly. But at this stage in his career, he isn’t going to give the Yankees a .350 season that we grew accustomed to. His only goal is to be better than Raul Ibanez. Shouldn’t be too hard.
Oddly enough, the Yanks and Mariners start a series tonight in Safeco.
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