Ichiro Suzuki has been a Seattle Mariner his whole career.
He has won multiple Gold Gloves. He won both an MVP and Rookie of the Year award in the same season. He broke the record for most hits in a single season, with 262. The list goes on and is extremely impressive. The thing is, his time in Seattle has run out.
He requested a trade about two weeks ago. His request was granted.
He was traded to the New York Yankees for pitching prospects D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. In most people's eyes, including myself, this was a steal for the Yankees. Many ponder what a 38-year-old outfielder, who is past his prime, can do for the Yankees. My answer: a lot.
He provides speed at any spot in the order for the Yankees. Whether he bats leadoff or bats eighth (like he's doing in his debut for the Yankees), he will instantly provide a spark.
In his first at-bat for the Yankees, what did he do? He got a hit. Then stole a base. Just like that, Ichiro has implemented his spot in the Yankees order.
This is a great move for the Yankees and Ichiro. Ichiro gets a chance to finally win a World Series, and the Yankees replace the speed and game-changing ability they lost when Brett Gardner went down for the year.
Ichiro is also a huge defensive upgrade over Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez in left field, where Joe Girardi said he will play Suzuki. He plans to play Ichiro in right field for now, but once Nick Swisher returns from injury, he will play left.
He also brings back the Japanese fanbase they lost when Hideki Matsui left town. This should be great for their revenue, ticket sales and jersey sales. They only owe him $2 million for the rest of the year and he becomes a free agent after the season. If the Yanks want to keep him, I'm sure they can get him at a cheap price. With his age and time remaining in the league, I can't see him asking for much.
Ichiro may have been struggling while with the Mariners, but I feel he will turn around his season with the Yankees. He has the luxury of the short porch at Yankee stadium, where I see many "Saki-bombs" landing. See what I did there? Maybe that will catch on. Maybe.
With the acquisition of Ichiro, the Yankees may have made the move that puts them over the top and makes them the top gun in the American League.
Like they already weren't.
This just solidifies that idea. Expect big things from Ichiro, Yankee fans. This is a great move that works on so many levels.
(Welcome to the Yankees Ichiro!)