You read that correctly, the Phillies are in talks to acquire Ichiro. The supposed logic behind this from the Yankees’ perspective is that they are thin in the bullpen and would want to add a veteran arm like Adams, whereas they are set in the outfield with Brett Gardner and the newly acquired Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Elsbury.
Even their designated hitter position is taken up by the immortal Alfonso Soriano, who somehow managed to hit 34 homers and drive in over 100 RBIs. Ichiro is clearly superfluous for them.
From the Phillies’ perspective, this makes sense because well, it just does. Admittedly, I was a little baffled by this after I discovered the rumor by our very own Mike Gibson. I suppose one could argue that the Phillies aren’t secure in their outfield lineup of Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere and Dominic Brown, or they don’t feel great going into the regular season with John Mayberry being their top backup outfielder.
Maybe Adams is expendable because they feel good about their young bullpen arms. What makes this deal work, conveniently, is that the salaries of Adams and Ichiro would pretty much offset.
However, this trade, or even legitimate rumor of a trade, has larger implications. It is no secret that Ruben Amaro Jr. has not only embraced the fact that he has an old team, but he has made it older with the acquisitions of Byrd, A.J. Burnett, Will Nieves and Bobby Abreu. This would be a swap to add an even older player to the roster for no discernible reason other than bench depth (and taking away at-bats from the likes of Mayberry and Darin Ruf).
If this move comes to fruition, it would be a clear sign by Amaro that this is the year, and likely the last year, that the Phillies are going for it. If they don’t win the World Series this season (a likelihood I’ve discussed previously), next offseason will look very different from this one, as they would be unlikely to add so many older guys to an already old cast.
The chance of an Ichiro addition for a mere bench spot sends the signal that Amaro is not concerned with getting younger guys valuable playing time, but rather supplementing an already defined team for what could only be considered a go at the gold. As if there was any question about this, such a move would cement their offseason goal.
Unless, of course, this is just a ruse to make their core look younger than they are.