The New York Yankees placed outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on waivers this morning. That should not come as a surprise to anybody as they were looking to trade the former All-Star before the season and before this year’s trade deadline.
When they traded for Martin Prado minutes before the trade deadline came to an end, it was expected that Ichiro’s time in the outfield would be cut down drastically. Brett Gardner gets the majority of the time in left field and we cannot expect him to lose it anytime soon as he carries the hottest bat for the Yankees. Center field is covered by Jacoby Ellsbury, who has stayed healthy for the team and shown he was worth the risk even with the health concerns. Then in right field, Prado is expected to get most of the playing time, bumping Carlos Beltran and his switch-hitting power capabilities into the designated hitter role.
Ichiro should be a future Hall-of-Famer. Professionally, he has over 4,000 hits, both in MLB and in Japan. He holds the major-league single-season record with 262 hits and has had one of the best careers for someone who has not played his entire career in the states. However, that was then, this is now. He is now 40 years old and playing a backup role for all the outfield spots. He was hitting well as the backup, but since being the everyday right fielder, his hitting has declined.
The Yankees are looking for a team to take his services and maybe extend his career — something the Yankees can’t guarantee him. Maybe the change of scenery will be good for him, and with him being 191 hits away from 3,000 in his MLB career, that would be one heck of a milestone for one of the most popular players of all time to achieve.