The marriage between Ichiro Suzuki and the New York Yankees worked out well enough for both sides in 2012 that it appears they have decided to try it again, as Japan's Nikkan Sports (h/t Daigo Fujiwara) is reporting the two sides will agree to a one-year, $5 million contract.
Sweeny Murti of WFAN Radio in New York is reporting that there is no deal at this moment, but there is interest from the Yankees in bringing Ichiro back.
Am told Ichiro deal is not done, just rumor. It is clear Yanks have interest in bringing him back, so entirely possible at some point.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) November 27, 2012
After spending the first 11 seasons of his Major League Baseball career with the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro was dealt to the Yankees on July 23. In 67 games with the Bronx Bombers, he hit .322/.340/.454 with 19 extra-base hits.
While certainly not the hitter he used to be, the move from Seattle to New York was a good one for Ichiro's career. Aside from the fact that the Mariners are a few years away from contention, the big park in Seattle was going to eat him alive the older he got.
Moving to Yankee Stadium, even at age 38, was always going to help Ichiro's offensive game. The short left field porch allows him to hit more balls over the fence, as evidenced by the fact he hit one more home run (five) with the Yankees than he did with the Mariners (four), despite having 175 fewer at-bats with the Yankees.
Right now, most of Ichiro's value is tied to his glove. He does not have the arm strength he once did, but he can still put more on his throws than most big league right fielders, and his range is still as good as that of anyone in baseball.
According to FanGraphs, Ichiro was third among all right fielders in UZR (12.7), trailing only Gold Glove winners Jason Heyward and Josh Reddick.
With Nick Swisher presumably not returning to the Yankees, the team needed to find an everyday right fielder.