New York Yankees

New York Yankees: With Bombers Passing on Upton/Hunter, Ichiro Likely 2013 RF

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
Doug RushSenior Analyst INovember 8, 2012

I think the Yankees' right field situation has become a little clearer.

Fellow Bleacher Report writer Phil Watson reported on Thursday that the Yankees will not pursue Torii Hunter in free agency or Justin Upton in a trade, as per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Sherman said that the team is really determined to get to the $189 million mark for its payroll, and it isn't even interested in giving Hunter a two-year, $20 million offer.

So with the Yankees unlikely to go after Hunter and Upton this winter, plus Nick Swisher declining the Yankees' qualifying offer, I have a pretty good guess as to where the Yankees' plan for right field in 2013 is going.

I honestly believe the Yankees are bringing back Ichiro Suzuki on a one-year deal, probably right around the $5-8 million mark.

Ichiro has already made it well-known that he wants to return to the Bronx because he loved the professionalism and winning atmosphere of the team during the short time he was there in 2012.

In 67 games with the Yankees, Ichiro hit .322 with five home runs, 27 RBI and stole 14 bases while playing all three outfield positions.

With the Yankees looking to get their payroll down, going with Ichiro on a one-year deal makes plenty of sense considering Swisher made $10.25 million last season. So if they do decide to sign Ichiro back, it will already be for less money.

I think having him in right field would make the Yankees outfield better considering Swisher was never that great of a fielder to begin with, while Ichiro was a 10-time Gold Glove winner in center and right field.

Plus, adding Ichiro's speed element to the lineup can be a good change of pace to a lineup that relied a lot on hitting home runs.

The only other option I can see the Yankees potentially pursuing for right field is Shane Victorino, but I see him getting more money to stay a centerfielder rather than taking less money from the Yankees to play in right.

So for now, unless something drastically changes, I think we can all expect Ichiro back in the Bronx for 2013.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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