Ichiro Suzuki Trade Fills Void for New York Yankees

Jordan SchwartzSenior Writer IJuly 24, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 23:  Ichiro Suzuki #31 of the New York Yankees singles against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 23, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The New York Yankees have the best record in baseball and now they have a future first-ballot Hall of Famer in their outfield.

The Bombers acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners on Monday in a deal that also sent cash to the Yanks and right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to Seattle.

At 38 years old, Ichiro is certainly not the same player that won 10 Gold Gloves and hit .322 in nearly 12 seasons with the M's. But just days after learning left fielder Brett Gardner would almost definitely miss the remainder of the year because of elbow surgery, Suzuki's addition fills a hole for New York.

In what has become a trend over the past decade, the Bombers rely way too heavily on the long ball. This year, they are 56-23 when they homer and 2-15 when they don't.

As they have realized nearly every postseason over the past 10 years, you need to find other ways to score if you are going to beat elite pitchers in October.

Ichiro can bunt, steal and run the bases with the best of them, and he wasted no time showing those skills in his Yankees debut.

In his first at-bat on Monday, Ichiro singled to center, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. He didn't score, but he gave New York a chance to do so without needing a home run.

The all-time single-season hits leader isn't going to swipe 56 bases like he did in 2001, when he won the MVP and Rookie of the Year, but his 16 steals are already tops on a team that ranks 11th in the A.L. in that stat.

And then there's the defense Ichiro brings. He ranks second in the majors among corner outfielders with 12 runs saved. Andruw Jones has just two, and Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez are both below zero in that statistic.

Another good part of this trade is that the Yankees didn't have to give up too much. Mitchell allowed seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings in four games with New York this year for a 2.143 WHIP. The 25-year-old was also just 6-4 with a 5.04 ERA for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Farquhar, meanwhile, is simply a minor league reliever journeyman.

The Yankees could still use some pitching help, but they took another step Monday toward achieving their goal of winning the 2012 World Series.


Follow Jordan Schwartz on Twitter @JordanHarrison.