In my mind the resurgence that we saw from Ichiro Suzuki in the latter part of 2012 won’t happen again this season, and he will backslide into the player he was for the Seattle Mariners prior to being dealt to the New York Yankees.
You need an entire day to talk about the struggles that the Yankees have faced this offseason, as they are entering 2013 undermanned. This time last year the conversation around the MLB was how Ichiro would rebound from a 2011 where he had a career-low 184 hits and an uncharacteristically low .272 batting average.
Ichiro is 39-years-old and has missed more than five games in a season just once, but I think his durability may become a question this year. With Nick Swisher signing with the Cleveland Indians this Winter and Curtis Granderson now out of the lineup with a broken forearm, Ichiro will have a much larger load. Last July Ichiro was able to come to a team already loaded and have minimal expectations–not this year.
Now, the landscape is different as Ichiro will be joined by Brett Garnder and Jaun Rivera in the outfield who both pale in comparison to the Yankees previous outfielders. The last time Ichiro had to be the man in the Mariners outfield it wasn’t pretty, as his average dipped from .352 to .315 to the abysmal .272 mark in his last full season with Seattle.
It’s going to be a challenging year in the Bronx and Ichiro isn’t going to be much help, as I don’t see big things from a guy who was merely a fluke in his emotionally-charged 67 games for the Yanks in 2012.