Report: Yankees have interest in re-signing Ichiro and Ibanez


Via Wally Matthews: The Yankees have expressed interest in re-signing both Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez to short-term contracts. The former “strongly wants to stay” with the club while Brian Cashman said the latter won’t be as cost-effective going forward following his hugely clutch season.

Ichiro, 39, posted a 114 wRC+ in 240 plate appearances with the Yankees while the 40-year-old Ibanez put together a 102 wRC+ with a number of massive late-season homers. New York bought low on both guys and they did a fine job, but I’m always wary of bringing back older guys like this after an unexpectedly strong season. I’d rather replace them during the offseason rather than at the trade deadline. Hopefully the Yankees consider both backup plans and will look for better solutions in right and at DH.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Jerkface says:

    Ibanez wouldn’t be terrible as a last guy on the bench player, but if its back in the same platoon pass. Super below average AVG & OBP & Speed & Defense

  2. Rey22 says:

    Fantastic job in 2012. Want no part of either for next year.

    Those who keep ignoring Ichiro’s 2011-2012 pre Yankees and sayings he’s the Yankees version because of the stadium and playoff team energy are deluding themselves.

    Ibanez was epic in the postseason, but he was pretty much non-existent in the second half (probably wore down by playing so much LF, did way more than they expected). If he doesn’t have that postseason, nobody would be even considering bringing him back.

    Thank them and move on.

  3. David N says:

    The illogical fan in me wants to see Ichiro back next year. The logical fan in me hopes it’s for the right price.

    • Winter says:

      I’m not so much worried about the price of Ichiro as the cost. As in, who are you passing up to have him as your right(/left/center) fielder. Hunter? I’d rather see Swisher back (with a reasonable contract) than Ichiro.

      • David N says:

        Are you really going to get Swisher on a short-term deal? They can’t give him a Werth-type contract. I’d rather have one year of Ichiro in right and then see if you can upgrade (Choo?) than be locked in with Swisher for four or five.

      • Cris Pengiucci says:

        I’m pretty sure that’ll be looked into, at least I hope so. I doubt Swisher will be available at a reasonable cost. If Ichiro is offered a contract, I just hope he was the best option. I don’t expct he’ll provide near the value that he did if he plays for the Yankees an entire season.

      • jim p says:

        But Ichiro would likely be a late-inning defender, pinch-runner/hitter, give spells to whoever, a backup for Gardner (who, even when he played near full seasons in 2010-11 did the second halves with injuries; missed 1/4 of ’09, then 2012 all season).

        I doubt anyone is thinking of him as the every-day starting outfielder.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Yeah, but is a player of that type worth the money you’re gong to have to pay Ichiro (!) simply for the value of his name and the torrid pace he finished the season at? I mean, we as Yanks fans know full well how the value of a name appreciates over time even as the player’s performance stagnates/declines.

  4. the mick says:

    ichiro 5.5 mill one yeqr ibanezzzzz 2.5 mill a year soriano 10 mill over two years

  5. Robinson Tilapia (We go hard) says:

    You had me at “Wally Matthews.”

    I’m written here what I think of bringing Ichiro back. With Raul, I’m wary of what the second act would look like.

  6. forensic says:

    If I may be the first to badly patent this:

    Torichiro platoon for RF.

    Seriously though, I’d be better with Ichiro than Ibanez. At least if Ichiro’s offense goes back in the crapper, you could do some PR’ing and defensive replacing with him moved to 4th OF or so. If Ibanez suddenly doesn’t hit hugely clutch homers (which may be pretty unlikely for a 2nd year) then he has nothing else to fall back on. Even with his clutch homers, he was a drag on the team for several months.

    • Robinson Tilapia (We go hard) says:

      I’ve thought about this too. It’s not a terrible one-year fix.

      To me, this move would be about buying an extra year of time in order to see if the kids take the next step. It’s a certainly a possibility, and I’d feel better with having both in the fold than just Ichiro, or maybe even Torii.

      • forensic says:

        I haven’t really thought much about it, just sort of popped in there, but it doesn’t seem too bad. Obviously, Hunter isn’t quite at the point where he needs to be benched vs. all righties, so he could DH those days with the 3-lefty OF playing. Then, with a lefty pitcher, you could mix the days off around for all 3 of the OF’ers and have a more part-time player start on those days.

        It won’t be him, but it could even be someone of the Nunez ilk, who seemingly hits ok vs. lefties and could provide some speed from the DH spot (or if they got lucky someone who could play utility IF reasonably and DH their other old guys those days).

        • Rivera Venue Blues says:


          vs righties

          c – martin
          1b – teix
          2b – cano
          3b – rodriguez
          ss – jeter
          lf – torii
          cf – gardner
          rf – ichiro
          dh – granderson

          vs lefties
          c – martin
          1b – teixeira
          2b – cano
          3b – rodriguez
          ss – nunez
          lf – torii
          cf – gardner
          rf – granderson
          dh – nunez (giving a-rod or jeter a half day at either 3b or ss)


          • forensic says:

            vs. both: I’d like a different name next to the ‘C’, not that I could tell you who exactly…

            But to the point at hand:

            vs. righties: that’s basically it though I was kind of thinking Grandy would get the defensive nod over Hunter based on his seniority with the franchise, and Hunter could periodically be sat when needed (again mostly for the old IF guys).

            vs. lefties: again, basically it but you could vary the Gardy/Grandy/Ichy part and play the 2 with the best numbers or most health or hottest or whatever was the streak du jour at the time. Hunter would be in the OF, either R or L, and I wouldn’t mind Nunez playing that utility IF/DH spot, but it won’t happen as they seem to be adamant about ruining any semblance of trade value he may have had left by saying he will only play SS. In that case, he doesn’t really fit this scenario as A-Rod would theoretically be the guy needing the most DH days (at least in Girardi’s mind).

            • Rivera Venue Blues says:

              Right, I imagine Girardi would rotate the OF spots vs righties to get guys who need a half day off and keep them fresh since Ichiro and Torii are pretty advanced in age and Granderson seemed to wear down during this year too. Against lefties I guess the “spot” I gave to Nunez would be shared between the backup 3B and Nunez so I hope we get a decent one that can hold his own against left-handed pitchers.

              While I’m not ecstatic about Martin coming back, I’m pretty much resigned to the idea that there’s no one out there that would be a better fit for what the Yankees are trying to do. The guys who are better would all probably cost too much in terms of money or prospects although if McCann could come relatively cheap maybe I’d take a good look there.

    • Austin Aunelowitzky says:

      I should have read your post before chiming in.

    • Steve S says:

      I’d be on-board for that, I just don’t think the players would.

  7. Winter says:

    Guys. Trade A-Rod for Justin Upton and use the money we save to re-sign Ichiro and Ibanez and put what’s left over into the farm system to make a new core 4.

  8. Austin Aunelowitzky says:

    Can Ichiro get 400 AB’s as 4th OF and DH? Bring in Hunter and Ichiro, pass on Ibanez. Ichiro is Leadoff hitter, Jeter bat second. Gardy Lead off when Ichiro sits.

    • forensic says:

      Why would you want the king of double plays batting second? Ichiro has some speed, but he’s not stealing on every single anymore. I know Ichiro hits a ton of grounders too, but he gets to 1st much quicker than Jeter does, especially after a broken ankle, so I’d prefer to take my chances with him beating out a few extra plays at 1st than Jeter.

      • Austin Aunelowitzky says:

        I’m speaking from perception not data, but I don’t think Jeter hit as many groundballs in 2012 as he did in 2011. Hoping he still has his swing. Thinking he won’t have his speed or what was left of his range.

        • forensic says:

          No matter what year it is, he’s always been a ground ball machine. That’s why he’s top-20 all-time in GIDP. He’ll also never beat Ichiro to 1st.

          And for what it’s worth, his GB% in 2012 was 62.5, while 2011 was 62.4, according to fangraphs.

          • Austin Aunelowitzky says:

            Damn, I was going to answer your first sentence with Cy Young has the most all time wins but he also has the most all time losses…

            You got me with the second sentence though. Curses, Foiled Again!
            Damn You Forensic *shaking fist*

  9. Get Phelps Up says:

    Ichiro I would happily welcome back as a 4th OF or platoon bat. As for Raul I would kindly thank him for a memorable performance down the stretch and sign someone else to DH from the left side. (I’d really like Berkman or Thome)

  10. Chuck says:

    Maybe I’m the irrational Yankee fan but I’d rather watch ichiro than granderson. I think their odds of winning in the post season are higher with ichiro anyway.

  11. cranky says:

    If the Yankees are intent on not re-signing Nick Swisher, I think they’d be best off signing both Torii Hunter and Ichiro, to go along with Granderson and Gardner. Hunter and Ichiro can both still play anywhere in the OF and Ichiro, especially, remains a ++right fielder. Money would matter, of course. But if the price were right, it would make sense. Between starting and backing up at all three OF positions and DH, both Ichiro and Hunter would get plenty of ABs. And short term deals would give guys like williams, heathcott, and austin real opportunities in 2014/2015.

  12. pistol pete says:

    If Gardy’s healthy we don’t need Ichiro, I’d rather have Hunter in right, we need right handed hitters. It’s time to leadoff Gardy too and let Jeter bat second, then Cano could get comfortable in the 3 hole where he needs to be all year to get comfortable. Gardner Jeter Cano Arod Tex Hunter Granderson Martin (dh, Ichiro/Ibanez/Berkman)

  13. pistol pete says:

    If Berkman’s healthy could he be an asset at DH/1b/of(emergency)? He played lousy in Ny but bounced back big time in ST Louis before getting hurt last year. Probably an upgrade over Ibanez.

  14. Bartolo I Hurt My Colon says:

    Whatever happened to getting younger and more athletic?. This is like voting for Mitt Romney, instead of going forward we are going backwards…

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Whatever happened to getting younger and more athletic?.


      I guess they’re waiting on the next wave prospects coming through the farm now.

      • Tony_Turdner says:

        “I guess they’re waiting on the next wave prospects coming through the farm now.”

        Yep. And they all played mostly A-Ball last year. AA this year. OK. Now these guys are all going to pan out and be MLB starters in 2014. #IBeleaveIt

    • MannyGeee says:

      you can’t get “Younger & more athletic” and “better today” and “under 189M for 2014″ simultaneously.

      There’s an old Project Management adage that says you have 3 qualities of any program: “Cost Effective”, “Good Quality”, and “Timely Delivery”. You can have any two you choose, but you can never achieve all 3. Your program can go fast and be cheap, but the quality will suck, cheap and good quality but your timeline will suffer, etc…

      Same goes here. You can be younger & more athletic and better today, but it will cost you (money AND prospects), win today and meet the $189M, but not with young impact guys. Pick 2; and I think the brass is going with stay competitive and strive for the $189M…

  15. Chuck says:

    Trade cano, Hughes, nova, granderson and just do something with arod. Praise The Lord swisher is gone. Resign swisher. Bring up minor leaguers I’m sick of watching these chokers.

  16. Fin says:

    LOL, sign Hunter, Ichro and Ibanez….add them to Pettitte, Mo, Arod, Jeter, Kuroda, and you may possible have the oldest team in MLB history.

  17. Scheister says:

    Bring back Melky! Do it!

    • MannyGeee says:

      funny, I keep thinking this might be a thing. I could see Melky on a 1yr prove yourself contract, and I keep thinking as much as I loved Ichiro he will get a FT OF offer (I am still thinking the Giants)

  18. steve (different one) says:

    I think as long as they don’t view Ichiro as an everyday player, I’m on board with brining him back. You can spot him in all 3 OF spots and and occasional DH day and get him 400 PA’s. He’d be a pretty great guy to have in that role. But you need another RHed OFer.

  19. Eddard says:

    YES! Ichiro is exactly the type of contact first hitter that we need mroe of. Ichiro and Ibanez were our best hitters in the playoffs. They remind me a lot of Johnny and Hideki who were unceremoniously released after they helped us win the WS back in 09. Ichiro and Raul are clutch, postseason players. There’s nothing wrong with keeping Ichiro to play RF and Ibanez DH vs righties. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    • MannyGeee says:

      #EddardWorld rides again! Revisionist History!

    • MannyGeee says:

      and Yes, there’s something wrong with all of that…

    • steve (different one) says:

      Yes, Damon and Matsui were “released”. By “released”, you mean Damon refused a $14m/2 year deal from the yanks because he thought he could get more $ and had to settle for $8M/1 from the Tigers, i guess that’s what released means.

  20. Hubward says:

    Question from a 6 year follower of the Yankees from over the pond (i.e. without the years of immersing in baseball or the Yanks by so many of the posters here) – how big a downgrade would a Cervelli/Stewart type platoon at catcher be against Martin/Stewart given both Martin’s woes this year and the relative low level of production from catchers across the league? If you are only a little below (an already low) league average catcher production could you save some of that money for a bigger upgrade in the OF?

    • MannyGeee says:

      The big difference will be in power. Martin gave a 20 HR performance (albeit with a painful hitting approach)… Cervelli will give you the same .200 BA, but like 2 home runs. Neither is a defensive whiz (contrary to the narrative).

      Also, I guess it matters if you buy into the “pitchers love throwing to this guy” or “really good at framing pitches” memes.

      I would rather (if not Russell Martin) a true defensive catcher of the Jose Molina ilk (although his option will get picked up I am sure… ) and not pretend that you are getting a Joe Mauer performance out of either of these guys.

  21. Hubward says:

    Thanks for the information my guess would be that pitchers won’t ever say anything else and that both might be a bit too intangible currently to measure well.

    I did wonder if you end up paying a premium at that position due to the overall lack of talent and as the Yankees have prospects not too far over the horizon whether the team could live with a below par solution for a year or so and spend the money more effectively elsewhere.

    It was really just a question thrown out there but now I maybe lean toward get a good (& cheaper) defensive option and hope for a home grown impersonation of Mauer to emerge.

  22. Barbara Booey says:

    “Hopefully the Yankees consider both backup plans and will look for better solutions in right and at DH.”

    Idiotic statement by Axisa. Why would Ichiro be a “backup” plan for RF? He proved he is more than capable to play every day. I’d go so far as to say that he would hit 15+ HR playing every day for a full season for the Yankees (he hit 5 in 35 games in Yankee Stadium alone this year).

    Oh wait – maybe Axisa’s point is that Ichiro would only need a 1 or 2 year commitment at a price that no one would consider bloated. From that perspective, he doesn’t deserve a spot in our starting line up. I see what his point is now.

    As has been speculated before…RAB is trying to get the feeling in the public domain that Ichiro doesn’t deserve a starting job. It’s trying to alter the public perception in an attempt to undercut Ichiro and help the Yankees position in negotiating a contract with him. Don’t forget who butters RAB’s bread – it’s the YES Network, and by extension, Cashman & Pig Vomit (Levine).

  23. Travis L. says:

    What about Melky on a one year “prove yourself” deal to play RF, with Ichiro as the 4th OF also on a cheap one year deal. You then have 2 lefty OF (Gardy and Grandy…although I’d trade Grandy for pitching). If Grandy is traded…see the word IF…then I’d sign Hunter. Put Hunter in LF, Gardner in CF, Melky in RF, with Ichiro as a 4th OF. If you want a RH OF to hit against lefties, maybe we would find value in a trade with the Angels for Wells (for Dickerson?) with Los Angeles sending cash. Hell with Dickerson, we could use him instead of signing Ichiro.

    As far as catcher is concerned…Martin and Pierzynski are the “best options” on the free agent market. I dont know what would be available via trade…maybe Nick Hundley, but he wasnt much to smile about in 2012. So, I’m sure Martin will be back, just because no one wants Pierzynski’s “attitude” (as I’ve heard he is a fairly hated individual). I’m guessing a 2 year deal (probable 3, but that’s overdoing it) would be an option, just to get the position to a healthy Romine or Sanchez.

  24. Mike Axisa says:

    He proved he is more than capable to play every day.

    Sorry I don’t consider a three week hot streak to be the real him following 16 months of being awful at age 39.

    And keep running with that “butters RAB’s bread” line, maybe it’ll be true one day.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.