The Yankees and the 39-year-old Japanese star are still working out the deal, the length of which has yet to be determined.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Ichiro rejected a two-year, $14 million offer from the Philadelplhia Phillies.
As Ichiro signs with the Yankees, he'll be turning down a two-year, $14 million offer from the Phillies.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2012
Up until Olney's tweet, there had been no report of the Phillies having any interest in Ichiro.
However, according to Joel Sherman, because of the Phillies' offer, the Yankees may have no choice but to give Ichiro a two-year deal now.
I don't think Ichiro would have fit in the Phillies' lineup anyway. There is a lot of age already in the lineup with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins all in their mid-30's.
To me, the rejection of Philly's offer shows that Ichiro was only interested in coming back to New York.
Back in late October, Ichiro made it very clear that he wanted to return to the Bronx because he loved the winning atmosphere and professionalism that was displayed by his new team.
Talks had stalled between the Yankees and Ichiro, as the team focused on bringing back Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera first, then signed Kevin Youkilis in wake of Alex Rodriguez's hip injury, which will require surgery in January.
But once Youkilis was signed, the Yankees shifted their full focus to bringing back Ichiro and got a deal done rather quickly.
The long-time Mariner was traded in late July from Seattle to New York due to the elbow injury to Brett Gardner, causing the Yankees to search for outfield options.
What the Yankees got was a steal of a trade, as Ichiro hit .322 with 14 stolen bases in just 67 games for the Bombers.
At times during the second half of 2012, Ichiro looked like "vintage Ichiro," getting three or four hits in a game, stealing bases and frustrating the opposing pitcher on the mound with his speed.
Whether it's for one season or two, the Yankees will hope for more "vintage Ichiro" in 2013 and hope he continues his great play from one season ago.
Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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