It has been a long time since Ichiro Suzuki was a difference maker atop a MLB lineup, and his days with the New York Yankees may be coming to a close. Suzuki helped the Yankees tread water while All Star Curtis Granderson was out of action, but the ex-Seattle Mariner is the odd man out in the Big Apple.
This scenario was expected to be awkward considering the stockpile of outfielders that the Yankees currently feature, yet Suzuki has not helped his cause whatsoever in 2013. Suzuki is hitting .252 with only eight walks, and although his season numbers are similar to Brett Gardner‘s, Suzuki’s old legs should place him behind Gardner on the depth chart.
Moreover, the Yankees have decided to bring Granderson back and play left field rather than boot Gardner out of center field where he has played all 38 games in 2013.
Sticking Suzuki in right field seems like the logical thing to do, however the play of Vernon Wells this season makes it nearly impossible for Girardi to sit Wells in favor of Suzuki. Wells is much more experienced in both left and center field, but at this stage in his career heis willing to play anywhere — the second highest paid player in MLB played third base last week.
Given the success that Travis Hafner has had in the designated hitter role this year, I would be extremely surprised to see Suzuki be anything more than a platoon player in left field with Wells getting the bulk of the playing time.