MLB Free Agency 2013: Ichiro Suzuki Looking to Return to New York Yankees

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IOctober 25, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #31 of the New York Yankees looks on in the field against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 14, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Yankees know right field is on their list of things to do this winter.

They might already have an in-house option before free agency kicks off.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Ichiro Suzuki is looking to come back and play for the Bombers in 2013.

Sherman said a friend close to the Japanese star said that he loved playing in a professional and winning atmosphere.

In Sherman's story, he said that a one-year deal worth $5.8 million with an option for 2014 might be able to get Ichiro back in the Bronx.

Ichiro was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Yankees on July 23 for two minor-league pitchers, and for the Yankees, the trade ended up being a steal.

In 67 regular-season games, the recently turned 39-year-old hit .322 with five home runs, 27 RBI, stole 14 bases and had a .340 on-base percentage while playing all three outfield spots.

In the postseason, Ichiro hit .275 (11-for-40), and was one of the few Yankees who ended the postseason with a decent average.

Against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, Ichiro hit .353 (6-for-17) with one home run that came in the bottom of the ninth inning against Jose Valverde in Game 1.

To me, Ichiro makes a lot of sense for the Yankees in right field.

He won't cost as much as it would to keep Nick Swisher, nor will it be as much of a long-term commitment as Swisher will likely get this winter.

Sherman also said that the Yankees are intending to build their team around left-handed power, which means having both Ichiro and Brett Gardner in the lineup unless they transition Gardner to a fourth-outfielder role, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman hasn't decided yet what he will do regarding the lineup just yet.

Ichiro by no means fits the "left-handed power" characteristic the Yankees will look for, but his speed and defense are needed on a Yankee team filled mostly with sluggers.

To me, it sounds like Ichiro isn't interested in scoring a big-time free-agent deal. Instead, winning has become his goal and purpose during the twilight of his career.

He's not the same Ichiro that came into the league in 2001, was the A.L. MVP and was one of the best players in the game, but the current Ichiro can be a very productive player in the Yankees lineup.

I think Ichiro ends up coming back in 2013 and it's a win-win.

The Yankees can re-sign a solid player in right field who won't cost them a ton of money.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.