Update: Yankees to re-sign Ichiro Suzuki

Mailbag: Mark Trumbo & Shaun Marcum
RAB Live Chat
(Leon Halip/Getty)

Friday: It’s a two-year contract worth approximately $13M according to Heyman. Other teams, including the Phillies, reportedly offered two years and $14-15M, so Ichiro took a slight discount to return to New York. Heyman notes the team considered a one-year offer worth more than the $6.5M average annual value of this two-year contract, but apparently decided against it. I would have greatly preferred a one-year commitment given the 2014 payroll plan and Ichiro’s age. Sounds like the deal is still pending a physical.

Wednesday: The Yankees will re-sign Ichiro Suzuki according to Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, and Craig Carton. The deal is not done yet because the two sides are still hammering out some details, but it’s only a matter of time before those are worked out. It sounds like there’s a chance he’ll wind up with a two-year contract, which would not jibe with the team’s “one-year contract or bust” mentality in advance of the 2014 payroll plan. The club will need to clear a 40-man roster spot once the deal is official.

Ichiro, 39, hit .322/.340/.454 (114 wRC+) in 240 plate appearances for the Yankees after being acquired from the Mariners at the trade deadline. He didn’t hit much in the first six weeks after the trade (.271/.297/.398 in 140 PA), but was arguably the team’s best hitter down the stretch in the final three weeks of the season (.394/.402/.532 in 100 PA). Ichiro hit just .268/.302/.342 in over 1,200 plate appearances from the start of 2011 through the trade, so the Yankees are clearly banking on him being revitalized by playing for a veteran-laden contender.

In order to facilitate the trade, Ichiro agreed to a set of conditions that included batting lower in the order and sitting against tough lefties. He earned a higher slot in the lineup and full-time at-bats later in the season, but it remains to be seen how the Yankees will use him going forward. Does he automatically hit first or second and play everyday based on the strength of his strong finish? Or will he essentially have to re-prove himself and start the year at the bottom of the order and on the bench against tough lefties? I’d prefer the latter, but that’s just me.

One thing the Yankees will clearly get with Ichiro is premium defense. He’ll slide back into his natural right field position and provide both range and a strong arm (even if it takes him forever to actually throw the ball), giving the team its best defensive outfield alignment in quite some time. Ichiro is also a true global superstar who transcends baseball. This financial impact is often overstated (as we learned during the Hideki Matsui years), but there are plenty of marketing and merchandising dollars to be made by having him on the roster. It’s also worth noting that Ichiro is only 394 hits away from 3,000 for his MLB career, though reaching that milestone within the next two years seems unlikely.

With Kevin Youkilis on board and Ichiro on his way back, the Yankees addressed two of their biggest position player needs this week. They still lack a starting-caliber catcher and need a DH, but one will be far easier to find than the other. It’s also imperative that they find a right-handed hitting outfielder since they now have three left-handed starters who had varying degrees of success against southpaws over the last three years — Ichiro (87 wRC+), Brett Gardner (103 wRC+), and Curtis Granderson (112 wRC+). Scott Hairston seems to the be the only viable free agent option for that role, but a trade is always possible.

Mailbag: Mark Trumbo & Shaun Marcum
RAB Live Chat
  • Tampa Yankee

    2 yrs? Ugh… please no!

    • OldYanksFan

      We need a RFer in 2014, no? And we know there ain’t much budget for that position, yes?

      So my guess is Ichiro will be relative cheap, hopefully 2/$8m or less. That gives us a stopgap to ‘fill’ RF for 2014, in the event that we can’t swing/afford anything better.

      Ichiro can still run. Last year, he hit a number of routine DP ground balls, and to my amazement, beat the throw to first. Speed is usually the first thing to go. If he can still run, he is probably in pretty good shape, aging wise.

      The key is his contract. If he is cheap, it’s a smart deal. If he gets $5m in 2014, it’s questionable. If he gets more then $5m, then I can’t understand it.

    • GB

      Oh joy! Just what we need, another aging player. I can’t wait to listen to Michael Kay in September after they don’t make the playoffs rant about how the Yankees need to get younger and do the little things like bunt, steal bases, hit and run. If the broadcasters see it how can the brass not see it?

  • DERP

    Seems odd that they would give Ichiro two years after refusing to give two years to anyone else. Hoping for just one year.

    • Jim Is Bored

      It’s probably because he’s not going to get 9-10 million per.

    • Ted Nelson

      Seems like it’s just speculation at this point that it will even be a two year deal (and might be some sort of option even if it is), but they haven’t “refused” to give others 2 year so much as they just haven’t signed anyone for two years. They still have to field a team in 2014.

  • Adam

    This doesn’t make sense at all. Ichiro is an exciting player and would make for a phenomenal 4th outfielder/pinch runner type for us but 2 years? And for a 39 year old? Can’t say I’m ecstatic about this unless it’s for a VERY low base salary each season…but I think we’ll end up overpaying.

    If his salary approaches anything near what Martin’s new contract pays him I will be very upset. I thought it was mostly the second year that caused the Yankees to hesitate on signing Martin but they’ll be giving Ichiro that second year…it just doesn’t make sense to me unless he will be getting paid substantially less than what Martin is. smh.

  • The Moral Majority is Neither

    I’ll wait before overreacting, but a 2nd year seems odd.

    Glad he’s back, though.

  • Jim Is Bored

    I like it. Gives us insurance if Gardner gets hurt again, gives some speed and contact to the bottom of the lineup(or top I guess, although hopefully he stays 8/9).

    The Yankees never make it through a season with just 3 guys manning the outfield.

    On a different note, I’m pretty sure every move the Yankees make anymore is apparently the worst thing in the universe to a lot of RAB characters.

    • MannyGeee

      Why would they sign Jesus Christ to 3 years! He’s old!! DOOMED!!!!

  • MB923

    It’s a 2 year deal, or a 1 year deal with a 1 year vesting option.

    • http://gmail.com John Skilbred

      I see the 2-year Deal as a Face-Saving Measure for Ichiro, he Needs the Job Security of having at least a Partial Guarantee for Year Two…..I Do Believe that Ichiro will be Healthy enough to hit in the High .290’s for the forseeable future, and I believe he’s a battler…..I see him in the #9 slot depending on Pitching Matchups, switching off with Opening Day #1 Brett Gardner in that role on occasions……
      One Thing I didn’t count on is having SO MANY Lefty Hitters, although Curtis Granderson actually hits as well against Lefty Hurlers…..This Probably means we pursue Scott Hairston to help us out as a Right-Handed Stick to sub for any of Three Outfield Positions, and Chris Dickerson as the 5th Outfielder/Pinch Runner.

      • G

        Granderson hit well against lefties for a while, but he definitely became susceptible again last year. Still above league average vs. LHP (104 wRC+), but not great.

  • BJ

    Not ridiculously excited about this signing, but definitely better than most other options available. At least the Yankees will have some high-quality outfield defense in 2013.

  • hogsmog

    I don’t know about two years…

    Ichiro finished the season with something like a really hot six weeks. Is that really enough to justify a two-year contract to somebody who outside of those six weeks OPS+’d to the tune of 2012 Jayson Nix? And plays a speed game at what will be 39-40 years old? And is probably going to get paid extra for past performance?

    If they’re serious about 2014, I don’t see how they couldn’t have found someone better for the same price or cheaper with the same skillset (granted, I don’t know exactly what the contract will be, so that part could be bullshit).

  • Magilla Gorilla Mama Called me Roy tho

    Craig Carton has sources?

    • BINNER

      Agreed. This place is sinking fast if they’re using Craig Carton as a source.

      • Hoss

        How does that guy stay on the air? I have not heard anyone say a positive word about him yet.

  • emac2

    A second year with an overpay the first year and a low option for the second that works with the cap might be better than a one year deal.

    We do have to field a team next year.

  • Cy Pettitte

    2 years for Ichiro is fucking insane. Sherman is indicating 2yr/$12-14m dollar range. So they can give 40 year old Ichiro money from the $189 budget but not Russell Martin?

    • Jack

      Russell Martin fucking sucks.

      • Preston

        Your analysis fucking sucks

  • chris

    Even if its 2 years at a low salary, they can always trade him to a team looking to put people in the seats. They could swing a deal with the Astros, Marlins or even KC for a lower level arm or reliever in exchange for someone who will get more eyeballs on the team.

  • http://www.MindSmackGames.com Yankee Business

    Ichiro means very big revenue in merchandise and so on. 2 years of Ichiro just means more money for the Yankees. Hopefully we stop hearing about tax nonsense, they have billions, we, as fans deserve whatever it takes paying as much as we do for everything Yankees. As long as the money is spent smartly, there should not be a tax issue.

    • kazoome

      bingo yankee business…….the yanks are smart business people…..when matsui left so did alot of the asian fanbase…..resigning kuroda and ichiro will surely bring them back

    • CountryClub

      Teams split merchandise revenue equally. The only place the Yanks get to keep all (or most of) the money is for merch sold at the stadium.

      • Mark

        Japanese tourists?? (only half joking)

  • Pat D

    Really not sure why they feel 2 years is necessary. I’m sure it won’t put much of a dent in the $189 Million Or Bust Plan, but there’s that likelihood that he goes back to being the guy he was the last two years in Seattle. Hopefully not.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Youk and Ichiro! Hello 2005 World Series!

    • Luisergi

      More like 08′ WS

      We already won in 05′ with Bartolo, Freddy, Andruw, Chavez ;)

  • Roy Munson

    Interesting move to give him more than one year (if true) Something in the works for the grandy man perhaps??

  • Robinson Tilapia

    It sounds like there’s a chance that maybe possibly = instant outrage.

    As long as the money isn’t much, as long as the team doesn’t plan on starting him out there at 40, I don’t see why someone like Ichiro couldn’t make for a solid 4th outfielder at that age. You also really can DFA a legend who spent practically his entire career with a team other than your own without pissing off the fanbase.

    • http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/home/home.shtml The Big City of Dreams

      There is talk about him getting 3,000 hits. No way he can get that being the 4th outfielder.

    • MannyGeee

      Andruw Jones says go fuck yourself (in Japanese, of course)

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Andruw Jones says, “mmmmm….new food to try.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    I guess my dreams of Josh Hamilton coming on a discount at over. :(

  • flamingo

    …TWO years?

  • MannyGeee

    Playing Devils Advocate here… It could very easily be a 2/$7M deal or something insane like that. for $3.5M AAV, wouldn’t you be insane NOT to take him for 2 seasons? a guy who can still play all three positions in the OF and can still hit some (if not ALL) that he used to in his prime?

    Also, I think the writing is on the wall for Granderson in pinstripes, if not this winter (which would surprise me) then next winter for certain.

    If Ichiro is cheap, then he’s the ideal bridge over 2014 in the outfield.

    • MannyGeee

      and as soon as say anything, they are reporting it “could be as high as 2/14”

      yikes. I still like Ichiro on this team, but damn damn damn. I am not figuring any possible way to get to $189. Not that I care, just sayin

    • Captain

      yea I agree, Grandy is gone regardless of the length of Ichiro’s contract. this however gives them a cheap (hopefully) bridge to whoever they want manning a corner OF spot in 2014.

      • Coolerking101

        2/14 is nuts. 2/7 makes sense. Assuming he doesn’t fall off a cliff, I imagine he would remain a serviceable 4th OF/bench option in 2014.

  • LK

    If it’s for 2 years it needs to be practically free or this will be a bad deal.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    I’m seeing this as a move to hedge their bets and provide some protection should ant of the following happen:

    1) Gardner gets hurt again
    2) Granderson, Gardner or an OF prospect gets traded
    3) They decide to not re-sign Granderson after this season
    4) The OF prospects don’t progress quickly enough to play on the big league team in 2014.

    While it seems this may cost a bit, it does provide some flexibility. Not thrilled with a 2-year deal, but if he’s a 4th OF in 2014 I’m OK with it. I’m sure they looked carefully, but it seems there might have been better options (Schierholtz?). This has been an interesting offseason.

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      Exactly my reaction. I certainly retain the right to adjust my reaction depending on the final terms – I’d be much happier with 1 plus an option vs 2 guaranteed years for example, unless the AAV is much lower than is being reported. But I do like the insurance/flexibility aspects you’ve outlined nicely.

      All this said, I am irrationally hoping that his late season rejuvenation is a sign of good things to come. Obviously he’s older nowadays, but I think there’s a 5-10% chance that he was mailing it in the last two seasons in Seattle. If so, between a playoff hunt and the chase for 3000, he may very well be newly motivated.

      • LK

        If Ichiro was actually mailing it in while playing for Seattle and making millions of dollars, that would be a pretty poor reflection on him as a person, and doesn’t really seem consistent with the way he’s always been portrayed.

        I’m hopeful that the Ichiro resurgence from the end of 2012 will last, but I have a hard time seeing any rational reason why that’s likely.

  • 28 this year

    If it is like 2/14, letting Martin go was a big mistake. Martin is definitely worth more than Ichiro especially considering it is easier to find another OF than another C.

    • emac2

      Tea is really cheap in China so that proves Martin wouldn’t be a good deal no matter what Ichiro makes.

      What good is a catcher that doesn’t hit and that your best pitcher doesn’t like to work with???

      • Bubba

        but… but… but he frames pitches really well

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        I’m not even going to bother

  • FLYER7

    We can sign other 39 year olds and bring back Ibanez but not Ichiro for a second year?

    • Jonathan

      Yeah, because they’re 1 year deals. If they fall off a cliff and are awful you aren’t on the hook for next year and guys with Ichiro’s skill set fall off the cliff much faster than the norm. If Ibanez was awful last year we wouldn’t look into him but no matter how bad Ichiro is we’d have to pay him. I have no idea why this would take 2 years.

  • LarryM., Fl.

    How can you pay Youklis 12 million for one year and pay Ichiro 2 @7 million. Its probably 2@ 12-14 which means 7million for 2014. If Ichiro keeps his health then I assume he will be more than a part time player. Also may signal the end of the Grandy era in CF. The Yanks must see an upside to Ichiro offensively over the offense and D of Martin behind the plate. The reason for the lower bid to Martin Apparently in-house the catching position is a done deal which I have no problem with Romine and Cervelli duo.

    Grandy may be gone right after the Ichiro signing or in January thereabouts.

    • Kosmo

      potential landing spots for Granderson are dwindling. I thought maybe the Reds but they just traded for Choo. Seattle? or Philly ?

      and who would replace Granderson ? Hamilton ?

    • MannyGeee

      I still think they go both today, take the 40 or so HRs Granderson will give you this season and roll with Ichiro in 2014. It might be the better value than trying to move Granderson for nothing of real value today just to say you traded him.

    • LK

      Just curious, but why do you have no problem with the Romine/Cervelli duo?

      • LarryM., Fl.

        Cervelli can hit .270 will take walks. I don’t believe he’s as bad as depicted behind the plate. IMHO, Romine should be learning on the big stage. Martin and the remainder of available catchers will/may not give you that much more in offense and defense. Martin had all season to break out of his hitting slump which never occurred. I did not believe that he would breakout or improve much in 2103. Catching position is not a strong point with many teams.

        Can we trade Granderson for a ready MLB catcher then go for it.

        It’s just from watching the games with little or no study of stats.

        • G

          Yeah I’m not banking on Russell being great at the age of 120 either. I mean I know the teams old but damn have some standards

          For the record he absolutely did break out of his slump. Might want to take a look at his September and October numbers.

  • nsalem

    If he is the player we saw in a Yankee uniform for the last two months it’s a great deal. If he is that player there is a good argument for him being the best available option in 13 and 14, considering the money situation for next year, If indeed he is the player he once was we may get get to see him reach 3000 in a Yankee uniform at the end of next year. Anyone here any news on Soriano?? Looks like he should not of opted out. His name may change from IFKY to IFKB as in Boras.

  • DannyHawkins

    Somehow this makes me feel a little better after the pathetic Youkalis signing. I don’t have a problem rooting for this guy. Ichiro is one the best players of our lifetime and deserves a ring. (or two!) Pukealis only deserves a knuckle sandwich from our friend Joba. If he shows up with a Burnett style unexplained shiner @ least we’ll know why.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Ichiro takes great care of himself and is in great shape with a tremendous workout regimen. He runs well, throws well and although not a power hitter he can easily reach the rf seats at YS when guessing right. He puts the bat on the ball and can beat out double play grounders. If not overused i think he is a good signing. He has certainly proven to be durable.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    We now have 2 of the most well known batter’s box/stance rituals in baseball in Youk and Ichiro.

    • Betty Lizard

      Was just thinking the same thing. LOL season, here we come!

    • hogsmog

      Bring Back Sheff!!!

  • tmoney

    Mike, Any possibility the Yankees swing a trade with the Cubs for Soriano to be used as a DH – 4th OF?

    • Chris Widger

      if the Cubs would eat basically the entire contract I’d even give them Nova. But it’s still likely to be too much for the budget.

      Damn it would be nice to have that righty thump in the lineup, though.

      • Knoxvillain

        Even if the Cubs eat every penny that’s not a good trade. Soriano has health problems and can’t field or run the bases. You shouldn’t sell so low on Nova either.

        • Mike HC

          Yea, no way would I trade Nova even if we get Sori for free.

          • Chris Widger

            you are going to need to give up more talent to get the Cubbies to eat more money, though. maybe some of the AAA pitching depth than? Warren and a few minor prospects? I agree Nova is a lot.

            Soriano is not nearly as mobile as he was, and he’s never been great in the outfield, but he could definitely fake RF semi-regularly based on what I saw last year. Range is his main issue at this point – he’s never learned to take optimal routes to balls and that’s cost him as he’s lost athleticism. He’s got the arm for YSII RF though.

            • Mike HC

              I would like to get Soriano back too, but even if the Cubs eat most of the contract, I would be reluctant to give up any of our pitching depth, even a guy like Warren. Pettitte and Kuroda might both be gone next year, and considering how expensive getting any kind of decent starting pitching on the free agent market is, I wouldn’t trade starting pitching.

              • Mike HC

                This is also Hughes last year under team control.

                • Chris Widger

                  It is, but Warren’s peripherals in AAA aren’t terrible impressive. If you have Phelps and Nova in reserve and can sign somebody to fill out the back/hope for a breakthrough from the farm, I think he’s worth giving up for a bat like Sori.

                  • Mike HC

                    I won’t argue that. Agree that losing Warren could be worth it for Soriano on the cheap.

      • Ted Nelson

        I wouldn’t trade Nova for Soriano

        • Preston

          People really undervalue Nova, he’s very likely a solid back end starter and has already shown the ability to be a lot more than that. Let the guy pitch. I’d give them Adam Warren for Soriano and I wouldn’t be that excited about it.

          • Ted Nelson

            Some people might actually be basing it on a scouting report or legit analysis, but I think a lot of it is just what have you done for me lately and taking one down season as an irreversible trend. And the general Yankee-pessimism that prevails these das.

    • j

      That would work with the 189 plan too. We could eat ten million the first year, and the Cubs eat the whole contract in 2014. AAV only applies to free agents – all it means is that Soriano is going to count for 13 million against someones payroll next year. But how the teams split that is up to them.

      • DC

        You couldn’t be more wrong on AAV.

        • j

          Actually, I’m right.

          • Preston

            The cash considerations have to be finalized when the trade is made. Whatever we are paying Soriano, no matter when we actually paid it, would be split over the two remaining years.

  • Chris Widger

    Realistically, though, what are we expecting from an Ichiro this environment and this lineup.

    Does .290/.320/.410 seem out of reach? With the stolen bases and defense that would be stellar.

  • Phil

    What a mess

    • Robinson Tilapia

      No one to blame but yourself there. Ewww.

  • Rich in NJ

    A two year contract would probably be another indication that Levine is the true GM.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Why? You’ve just seen several logical explanations for two years above.

      • Rich in NJ

        That’s an opinion, one with which I disagree.

        If they are really serious about being under $189m, I don’t believe there are any good baseball reasons for giving an aging Ichiro more than one year.

        • Ted Nelson

          If the front office disagrees with you, it would make me more confident in their decision.

          • Rich in NJ

            That may end up contradicting what you said below:

            “I’m waiting to see the price tag on Ichiro before judging, but prospects don’t get too much closer.”

            • Ted Nelson

              No, it’s in no way a contradiction. That you think it is shows why it will increase my confidence in a decision you disagree with.

              I will have a given level of confidence in their decision when I find out the terms. Whatever level that is, it will increase is you disagree.

              • Steve

                If the Yankees did it, it’s right – Ted Nelson

                • Ted Nelson

                  Right… I spent days of my life arguing against the Montero trade, the Ibanez signing, the Ichiro trade, and even the Granderson deal to some extent because I agreed with them. Makes sense. I have disagreed with the majority of their personnel moves, that doesn’t mean they are unreasonable moves or that they’re poorly run.

    • Jim Is Bored

      We’re all glad you’re here to point out how the inner workings of the front office work.

      • Rich in NJ

        Bored and boring.

        • Jim Is Bored

          That’s a quality rebuttal right there. I was particularly impressed with how you referenced your sources and explained exactly how you know which moves Cashman made vs Levine and/or other members of the front office.

          • Rich in NJ

            If you think your post deserves quality, you need to rethink.

            This may go over your head, but I’ll try anyway.

            We post opinions here.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Opinions with no reasoning behind them aren’t worth my time to consider.

              You literally gave ZERO reasons for why you thought Levine was behind a move like this.

              My opinion is that your opinion was shitty.

              • Rich in NJ

                Given the underwhelming quality of your posts, I think anything you think is shitty probably rocks.

                If that wasn’t the case, you would have asked for my reasoning rather than the lame post you made.

                But anyway, here they are:

                Because I see Cashman as being more concerned with baseball reasons than financial reasons, and I don’t believe are any good baseball reasons for giving a player who will be entering his age 40 season in 2014 a guaranteed contract when the team is on a budget, given that this player has appeared to be in a steep decline for two seasons, except for one month in 2012.

            • gc

              There are opinions and then there is totally talking out of your ass.

              • Rich in NJ

                Tell me how it makes baseball sense to guarantee a 40 year old player a contract, when but for one month, he has been in decline for two seasons.

                You can get that opinion from any orifice you find.

                • MannyGeee

                  Tell me then how that means Randy Levine is in charge?

                  • http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/home/home.shtml The Big City of Dreams

                    I don’t want to speak for Rich but if the Yankees were so cautious about going over 1 yr deals yr for Kepp, Nate, and Martin then it would be weird to turn around and offer a 40 yr old a 2 yr deal.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      The problem is your assumption that they didn’t sign those guys purely because they wanted more than one year. They may have simply preferred Youk to Kepp. Or not thought Martin was worth the AAV regardless of term.

                      The other factual problem is that Nate got a one year deal from the Cubs. It’s fun to make things up to fit your narrative, but doesn’t make for a compelling argument.

                    • The Big City of Dreams

                      I made a mistake with Nate calm done Ted. I didn’t make anything up. Don’t you get tired of defending the Yankees all day. How much are they paying you to carry their water.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      When the team wins 95 games year after year there’s just not much to whine incessantly about, yet you people somehow find things.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      Are we back to the narrative that any questionable or bad moves are Levine’s and only the good ones are Cashman’s?

    • Preston

      I agree with you that this is a bad signing. But I’m not ready to assume anything about the front office, or their plans based on it. We, myself including, use a small amount of information to make assumptions about how the FO works. I’m done wasting time doling out blame, this was a collaborative Yankee FO signing, and one I’m not in support of. Hal Steinbrenner seems like a smart guy, and he doesn’t seem like he makes knee jerk reactions. It’s Brian Cashman’s job to advise on baseball decisions, if he’s getting outmaneuvered by Levine repeatedly on financial grounds then he should come with arguments prepared to counter those arguments. Since he didn’t do that, this signing is on him too.

      • Ted Nelson

        We don’t know what’s going on, so I’ll pick a guy to blame based on his title? Not buying it. Your own logic says that you have no idea what arguments Cashman came up with or what side he was on. Blaming Cashman is as arbitrary in the end as Levine.

  • Joba is Einhorn…Einhorn is Joba

    i have a feeling its goingt o be a team option – 10 million this year with a team option for 3-4 million next year. as i understand it, team option resets the AAV of the contract making him a 3 million dollar player next season which would fit perfectly into their plans

    • Rich in NJ

      If that’s true, why didn’t they offer something like that to Martin? I’m not his biggest fan by any means, but he is far more important to this team.

      • Jim Is Bored

        “but he is far more important to this team”

        The front office disagrees with you.

        • Rich in NJ

          That’s sad.

          • Jim Is Bored

            “If that’s true, why didn’t they offer something like that to Martin?”

            Because the front office disagrees with you.

            Rational people can disagree on whether Ichiro or Martin were more valuable to the team. If you think no thought went into this decision, I don’t know what to tell you.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Were more valuable = are more valuable.

          • Ted Nelson

            Because you’re a baseball savant or what?

            • Rich in NJ

              Because you’re a Yankee sycophant or what?

              • Bubba

                feisty today aren’t you

              • Ted Nelson

                Your whole argument relies on you knowing more than the Yankees FO collectively. It’s not compelling.

                • Preston

                  No, his argument is he thinks he knows. Which is everybody’s argument, since nobody actually knows. I also tend to agree and I think Mike does as well, so it’s an opinion reasonable people can hold (maybe I’m engaging in self flattery?). If we were going to allocate money against the 2014 budget it should have been for the younger, better player at a more valuable position. I’ll gladly admit if and when I’m proven wrong. I’ll let you know if an apology is forthcoming at the end of 2014.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    And you’d probably use some evidence rather than building an argument like Rich’s.

                    This is not the move I would have made with the knowledge I have, either. I am not saying it’s sad either though. The Yankees have far more resources to scout players, track stats (probably more robust ones than we have), and they’ve actually talked to the guy to get his take on why he stunk in Seattle for a while there. There is huge information asymmetry here. There were two other fairly well respected orgs (Philly and SF) that made similar offers, so whether it’s baseball or marketing value… A few teams think he has it. You can call that an appeal to authority, but I think information asymmetry definitely exists here. I’m willing to let it play out.

      • Joba is Einhorn…Einhorn is Joba

        good question – i dont get that either, just seemed like they were not too fond of russel as they didnt even make an attempt at him. perhaps they feel romine is capable of being an every day cather by 2014 and figured that they would just sacrifice this year from a catching perspective…

        also martin is younger so I dont think a low option year would fly with him because often, future contracts are based off of your past ones and he wouldnt want to enter the 2015 FA market coming off a 3 million dollar salary

      • Mike HC

        My guess is that before last season the Yanks offered Martin a 3 for 20 deal. He turned it down. Yanks then paid him 7.5 mil last year. Rumors had it Cashman was only going to offer another two years for 12-14 mil this off season, which would have put that back in line with the original offer. You can definitely disagree, but the Yanks seemed to decide before last season what they had budgeted for Martin and they were not going to go over that.

        • Joba is Einhorn…Einhorn is Joba

          totally agree…whether you are a cashman fan or not, the one thing that you can say about him is that I think he has shown that when he makes a decision about a player he sticks to it and doesn’t get pressured into changing his thinking

  • Mike HC

    I believe that the Yanks are once again ahead of the game. Grabbing Youk and Ichiro for about 12 mil a piece while guys like Victorino and Napoli are getting 40 mil and god knows what Swisher will end up getting. There is no doubt this team is a championship contender in 2013.

    • emac2


    • MannyGeee

      not sure if sarcastic, but yeah. Ichiro and Youk for $10-12M on short contracts >>>>>>> Victorino and Napoli for the same cash on long (longer, as it were) contracts.

      • Mike HC

        Not sarcastic at all.

  • T

    Some of your reactions on here are ridiculous. The Yanks cutting payroll is a good thing. How many awful contracts do we want for 90 years+? (Think A-rod) Point is, they found some nice pieces to add for one year contracts. They just need to get young talent behind it, by trading someone like granderson. Yes, young talent. That’s what will right the ship. Not Randy Johnson on a 4 year deal. Wake up people! Things are going to be ok…

  • Stephen

    Well, the Yankees effectively have the next two players to get 3k hits. 3 in a row. Should be a nice distraction from the losing.

    • Joba is Einhorn…Einhorn is Joba

      losing??? really? how many teams in the AL have a better starting rotation than the yankees? How many have a better bullpen??? not many

      their offense will not be as good as it has but its by no means aweful or even below average

      and its ONLY december 11th

    • Ted Nelson

      You mean the 67 loses last season?

      • Joba is Einhorn…Einhorn is Joba

        that is just way too many – and it might be 69 this year or gasp 70

        • MannyGeee

          `correct, if they got Keppinger or Scheirholtz, the would have lost like 10 to 12 games this season.

          Its shiny toy syndrome, man. everybody wants “new” or “better” or “younger”… regardless of what it costs or how much better it really is. Until they have to pay the piper and then, Nick Swisher doesn’t sound so bad after all!

          This is why I’ll never get divorced. I recognize shiny toy syndrome and can curb it. Some of these jabronis on here can’t.

  • Darren

    A sure-fire Hall of Famer who was stuck in a horrible losing situation, immediately rejuvenated once he was back in a meaningful pennant race?

    Willing to be a great team player right off the bat and hit 8th or 9th and play left field, something he hadn’t done in a decade or more?

    One of the hottest Yankees in the second half and one of the very few Yankees who hit AT ALL in the playoffs?

    A very athletic fielder in great shape (contrast: Andruw Jones) who still has a great arm, quickness and smarts?

    Two years is eminently reasonable. Considering that the Yankees don’t even have one prospect that’s even close to coming up, this is actually a great, great deal.

    • Ted Nelson

      The AA OF has three prospects, two of them legitimate top prospects. I’m waiting to see the price tag on Ichiro before judging, but prospects don’t get too much closer.

      • MannyGeee

        sure they do. its called “meaningful at bats in AAA”. Or is that too close?

        Granted, you may have meant geographically, in which case they should be playing in short season Staten Island. then they’d be REEEEAL close to the big club. Like, a taxi or ferry ride away!

        • Ted Nelson

          That’s all of one level closer. Many top prospects bypass AAA or don’t spend too much time there. If you start the season in AA, you might well end it in AAA or MLB. You certainly have a chance to be on the big club the next season.

          While they don’t have a real OF prospect in AAA, they do have some nice depth with some upside in Mesa and the Almontes. Segadin in AA as well.

          • Ted Nelson

            Notice that I didn’t say “prospects don’t get any closer” but “prospects don’t get too much closer.”

            We need a RAB introduction to reading…

            • Preston

              The jump from A ball to AA ball is by many accounts nearly as big as the jump from AAA to the majors. It’s not an insignificant step. I generally agree with you that Austin and Heathcott could be closer than we realize. But the first half of 2013 could either make them on the cusp of the majors or pretty far away.

              • Ted Nelson

                AzFL is also considered similar to AA and Slade dominated in a small sample there. Austin and Flores have both debuted in AA. It doesn’t mean they’ll succeed, but you can still only be one level closer. You can get at least four levels further in org ball. They are relatively close.

      • Darren

        Are you seriously suggesting that the Yankees should have said no to a two year demand from Ichiro because of Mason Williams, Heathcott and Austin? Three players that have never played above A ball, except for a couple of games in total? It’s pretty misleading to say the AA OF has three prospects. They might be ticketed for AA, but they’re not even there yet.

        If you’re not talking about those guys,who are you talking about?

        • Ted Nelson

          The three prospects does not include Williams. It’s Flores, Austin, and Slade.

          I am not suggesting that, because if I was I would have said it. They can do whatever they want with Ichiro. It doesn’t change how close their prospects are.

          • Darren

            But we’re talking about prospects in the context of the Ichiro signing. Do you think the Yankees shouldn’t have signed Ichiro for a second year because of three Single A players who may or not be ready to compete in 2014?I don’t think that plays in to it. We needed someone to play in 2013 and Ichiro is probablly the best option.

            • Ted Nelson

              AA is not Single A.

              I don’t think they should consider their prospects too much in who they sign or don’t sign. Baseball players are liquid, so it’s hard to have too many good ones if they’re on reasonable deals.

              My point was that their OF prospects aren’t too far away. Nothing about Ichiro. I was responding specifically to: “Considering that the Yankees don’t even have one prospect that’s even close to coming up.” They do.

              I think Nate Schierholtz would have been a significantly better deal if it’s really $12-14 million over two years. This is based on hitting RHP well each of the past two seasons, while Ichiro didn’t really hit any pitching well, and signing for one-year $2-3 mill with arb for 2014. Hopefully I’m wrong.

              • Darren

                I would never call a player who never played in AA “close to coming up.” I would venture that most people would agree with me, not you.

                And you can obfuscate all you want, but my point about prospects was directly tied to the point about this being a “great, great deal.” You conveniently left that part out when you quoted my post.

                • Ted Nelson

                  You can only get one level closer than AA. I think most reasonable people would agree that AA is relatively close to MLB.

                  “And you can obfuscate all you want, but my point about prospects was directly tied to the point about this being a “great, great deal.” You conveniently left that part out when you quoted my post.”

                  No. I addressed one aspect of your comment. Not the whole thing. You can separate one issue out of a larger text and comment on it.

    • Reggie C.

      I agree. Nice perspective.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      immediately rejuvenated once he was back in a meaningful pennant race?
      He was acquired in July. He had an incredible hot streak in September. Not sure a month and a half later counts as “immediately.”

      • Ted Nelson

        I think the original comment was too strong, but he also had his second best month of the season in August. Whether it’s sustainable or not, it is hard to argue he wasn’t a lot better in NY than Seattle.

  • Robert

    Tyler Austin is a righty Hitter outfield option.

    • Knoxvillain

      Not in 2013.

  • Gawl13

    I Love this deal Ichiro is still a great player ( better then gardner IMO) this really sets the lineup tho
    Ichro rf
    Jeter dh
    Cano 2b
    Teixeira 1b
    Granderson cf
    Youkilis 3b
    Gardner lf
    Nunez ss
    Cervelli c

    • Mike HC

      I still think we get a veteran catcher before the season starts. And a righty hitting outfielder. But the team is definitely coming together now with these moves.

  • Preston

    I haven’t been the biggest fan of this move. The Yankees OF wasn’t particularly good last year. We got 10 WAR from our OFers, which made us the 6th best OF in the AL and 14th in the majors. And 3.9 of those wins are walking out the door in the form of Nick Swisher. Ichiro is very unlikely to produce close to 4 wins next season. However it is still possible that we could have an improved OF overall. Curtis Granderson was worth only 2.6 wins last year, a large part of that was his poor defensive numbers in CF, if we move Brett Gardner to CF and Curtis to LF, he would probably be at least average if not above average defensively. He could also experience some positive offensive regression, especially if he can get his Ks back to their 2011 rate. I’m fairly optimistic that he can be a 3.5-4 win player next year. If Brett Gardner is healthy he is the big upgrade, he was worth 11.4 wins in 2010-11, as long as he stays healthy I think he’s a safe bet for 4-5 WAR. I still think Ichiro is a plus defender and base runner, so as long as he can hit at something approaching league average, he will probably be worth around the same 2.6 WAR he was in 2012. Add in maybe plus one win from our 4th OF and it’s easy to see us having an OF that bests last season when we won 95 games. I just wish we were bringing back Swish so that we could have the over 17 WAR OF that we boasted in 2011…

    • Ted Nelson

      Good analysis. While I am a big Swisher fan, I don’t know if re-signing him is in their best interest regardless of the budget. Depends how much $ he gets.

    • CS Yankee

      Good post.

      The Swish isn’t worth that amount of cheese. If they could do a 3/35 deal, that would be a steal. Anything above a 4 year deal will be a waste, IMO. Thinking that they paid above market for Mo, Pettitte, Youk and Ichiro but it doesn’t really matter as they don’t affect 2014’s limit.

      A JUp or Josh trade/inking would make everyone here with a reasonable expectation overjoyed and jiz’ed for 2013. I hope for, but don’t expect much more than a couple 2m$ signings.

    • emac2

      Why would you assume that Ichiro will repeat the same numbers when he has already shown he hits much better in Yankee stadium and will be here all year?

      It’s a really easy way to look at things but his Mariner numbers give no indication about what he will do this year other than to say he probably wont put up good numbers if he’s overused and asked to lead the offense at this age.

      • Preston

        Why would you exclude a large portion of relevant data just because it tells you what you want to think? I think Ichiro will hit a couple of cheap YS homers. But he is mostly a GB guy, I don’t think park factors effect him all that much.

      • Ted Nelson

        What does leading an offense even mean? You get the same PAs and take the same swings whether you are the best hitter in the line-up or the worst (adjusted for lineup position).

  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM)

    Really however many players didn’t even get an offer because the team doesn’t want to give 2yr deals but they make an exception for a 39 year old RFer who even with his scalding hot month of Sept still only managed to post a wRC+ of 90 and posted a wOBA of under .300 vs LHPing last year. I love Cash-Ninja but this offseason makes just zeros sense to me.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      but this offseason makes just zeros sense to me.

      I’m just hoping that this is because we don’t understand the full plan. Without a true insider, we base our reactions on what we see, not what the Yankees are actually thinking and planning.

      • LK

        I’m hoping the same thing. Unfortunately what I’m seeing is “we’re going to stop paying the luxury tax even if it means sacrificing the quality of the team.” I will say this: if they manage to pull this 189 thing off and put a championship-caliber club out there in 2014 it will be Cashman’s finest moment.

        • Chris Widger

          the thing is, if they can get through the next couple of years, they are in a position to flex those financial muscles again and build the next great Yankee team, either through free agency or trades (ability to take on contracts). the fact that the luxury tax resets could be a huge boon to the team long-term.

      • Ted Nelson

        What else were they going to do so far? Could have signed Martin or Schierholtz, but on paper those aren’t necessarily huge misses.

    • Ted Nelson

      We don’t know what this deal looks like let alone who did and didn’t get an offer from the Yankees, and why not. If you know there’s zero chance he signs it, there’s no value in extending an offer. It’s a waste of time and resources.

      What stats are you looking at? Ichiro had a 114 wRC+ for the Yankees. In September it was 133… I’m not saying he’ll maintain that, but where did you come up with 90 from?

      • Preston

        That was his full season wRC+

  • Hoss

    Ichiro will contribute far more to the 2013 team than Youkilis.
    I still cannot believe that we signed him. I guess the only thing worse would have been to sign Manny Ramirez. Heck, why not let Carlton Fisk manage the team? Or get Jerry Remy to do games? Or serve fucking chow-dah at the Stadium? In one of those stupid bread bowls that make it look like you paid $14 for a meal.
    What is this organization coming to?

    • jesse

      I can’t believe Cashman signed the best available third baseman when the team needed a third baseman, either. What was he thinking?!?!?!

  • jjyank

    If it is 2 years, I disagree with the move. If it turns out to be 1 year or 1 year + a team option, then I’m fine with it. Maybe I couold buy 2 years if the AAV is really low.

    I guess my point is that I can’t judge the move until I see the details.

    • MannyGeee

      If it’s 1/10 with a 2nd yr option of $5M, you buying then? Someone above said the AAV is reset on a player option, if that’s true and this is whats up, then its a steal.

      • jjyank

        I’d be okay with that. All depends on the numbers.

        • ton lon ton

          i am okay with that but we strill need to trade to get ramiro pena back

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    I like the Ichiro signing especially if they can get a righty who hits lefties well to platoon.

  • Chris Widger

    So, what are we expecting for Ichiro this year? I’d be really really happy with .290/.320./.410. Somewhere in between his renaissance last season and his last few years with the Mariners.

    • ton lon ton

      ichiro will hit .399 11 hr 87 rbi 78 sb at the stadium; he will hit .133 1 hr 9 rbi 7 sb away

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    How would Ichiro have to hit over the next two years to get his 394 hits? How many games/what average?

    • Ted Nelson

      He’s had 362 the past two seasons, so it’s possible but not a lock.

  • John Condoleon

    Get rid of Grandy and sign Josh Hamilton

  • barry hall

    So glad to see all these Yankee fans so well versed in the English language. Clean it up,kids might be reading this.

    • Jim Is Bored


    • Trollin’

      Who the fuck are you? The fucking morality police?

  • Mike HC

    Sounds good to me. I don’t mind the second year that much. With so much uncertainty going into 2014, having Ichiro for 6.5 mil is not a bad deal.

    • LK

      Ichiro last posted an OBP above .310 in 2010. Ichiro for 6.5M in 2014 could absolutely be a bad deal. I might go as far as to say that it will likely be a bad deal.

      • Trollin’

        Would you? Would you really go as far as to say that it will likely be a bad deal?

        • LK

          You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

      • Mike HC

        Strong defense and baserunning. Possibility for a bit of a career resurgence seeing the improvement at the end of last year. Could it be a bad deal, sure, but that 6.5 would not be able to bring back that much anyway in 2014. A guy on the level of Hairston is probably going to end up getting more than that. Youk got 12 mil. Reynolds, a righty DH got 6.

        • emac2

          He would be worth that as a 4th OF / bat off the bench

          • Mike HC

            Yup. That is exactly what I’m trying to say

  • emac2

    If they are going to go two years they should just do an 8 mil one year deal with a player option for 4 mil for the second year.

    Has it been established that the options don’t trigger AAV?

    • Trollin’

      Maybe 2 yrs was the sticking point for Ichiro.

  • josh

    player options count to the AAV automatically

    • emac2


      Do they factor them in starting the first year?

      Maybe we go with a 5 year deal with years 3,4 and 5 being player options for one mil


      3 mil AAV and he’ll retire after a couple of years anyway.

      • G

        Backfiring contracts are (among many other things) a major dispute in hockey right now. It might be wise to avoid doing anything they do.

      • G

        And I’m fairly sure only team options count. Player options don’t get calculated in the AAV, as far as I know.

      • Ed

        The best way to look at it is money that the team is guaranteeing it is willing to pay counts in the AAV.

        For team option years, the AAV is total value of the guaranteed years + any buyout values. In the case of multiple team option years, only the first year’s buyout gets included in the AAV (the other money never comes into play if the first option is declined).

        For player options years, the option years are treated as guaranteed.

        Another key point is that all money paid out in the contract get counted against the luxury tax exactly once. At the end of the deal, the luxury tax hit for each year will add up to exactly the value paid out over the life of the contract.

        If a team option gets picked up, the luxury tax hit is simply the newly guaranteed money. They’ve already had the buyout value counted against the luxury tax in past years, so the hit in the option year is simply the difference between the salary and the buyout. If there are multiple team option years, the next buyout value gets included here too.

        In the case of a player option or opt-out clause, the team may be subjected to either a credit or an additional hit in the luxury tax, depending on how the change effects the AAV. I’m not positive on this, but I believe the adjustment is factored in during the final season played. Jeter’s 2014 player option brings down the AAV of his deal, so if he opts out, the team’s 2013 luxury tax payroll would be adjusted up to compensate.

  • trr

    They do, but realize that the team will be sold within 2 years, so everything is about glitz + money now. Frustrating for we fans, right?

  • JohnC

    Soriano? Melky Mesa could strike out just as much for minimum salary

    • FIPster Doofus

      Could Mesa hit 25-30 home runs? Nope.

      • Ted Nelson

        But Ks have replaced BA as an all-encompassing offensive stat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • LitFig

        But Mesa won’t cost you 8 or 9 mil per (assuming Theo picks up half the tab).

        • Ted Nelson

          Rumors are they’re willing to eat all but $10 mill total.

  • UncleArgyle

    Everyone realizes that 6 mil per season equals about 3% of the payroll right? I don’t see what the outrage is all about.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    I think this was a move that the Yankees had to make given the other available options for RF but there is some risk going 2 years.

    It all depends if Ichiro is the guy he was with the Mariners for the first 100+ games when he was no better than what you’d expect from a 4th outfielder or if he was the player he was for the final 3rd of the season with the Yankees. I guess you could assume he’ll be somewhere in the middle which means his value likely should justify his contract.

    • bacciagaloop

      I have to wonder what Ichiro’s career wRC+ would be on a team that could drive in runs.

      He is a 110 wRC+ in career, while jeter is 122 wRC+ over his career which spans several more MLB seasons.

      I for one like the signing, granted, it would be better at 1 year for 8MM than the 2 year deal. We are going to need to cut down way more runs in OF this year to even get close to 85+ wins, because offense is lacking.

      I think Ichiro will be fine.

      • Preston

        wRC+ utilizes league averages to show runs created, it does not actually use RBIs and Runs to show value. So a player’s team-mates do not boost or detract from his numbers.

  • Get Phelps Up

    I’ve warmed up to giving him 2 years at a chesp AAV but please pair him with Hairston or Ross.

  • mt

    I think people comparing this to Yanks not giving a 2 year deal to Russ Martin for $17 million are missing the boat. First, Martin acted pretty quickly (Yanks like their players to wait for some reason until they resolved the pitching). It is also still not clear what one year or 2 year offer Martin ever got from Yankees. There are some reports that they never made him an offer. Think about that – how much did Yanks really want Martin then?

    So, as for RF 1 year or at most 2 year candidates, then several weeks pass as Hunter comes off board and Gomes and Schierholtz (who supposedly Yanks did make an offer to) – think about that Schierholtz from yanks before yanks gave an offer before Ichiro. I think Yanks may have been planning for a Schierholtz/Scott Hairston platoon for one year with ichiro as a back-up plan if that failed (remember how they told Ichiro to wait.).

    Well Schierholtz signed with Cubs and all I hear about Scott Hairston is there is no way he is accepting a one year deal (even though he has not signed yet) – so Yanks may have said they would probably prefer to bite the bullet with the “imperfect Ichiro” for 2 years at 13 mm than dabble with Hairston who might try to run them around with back and forth counter Mets offers. Also Phillies and Giants were higher than Yank offer for Ichiro, supposedly, on 2 year deals.

    Also 2 years might have been more important to Ichiro(given his quest for 3,000 hits that will take at least 2 yedars, probably more) than Youklis (given Arod coming back and impact on palying time) – they were able to overpay Youklis for one year and thought they could do the same with Ichiro – turned out they had more competition for Ichiro.

    I don’t love the signing – it is only OK – but on the other hand it does not deserve the condemnation I have seen, especially with those trying to make it directly comparable to Martin not getting 2 year deal.

    I have no idea who they will get to be RH OF back-up with 3 starting lefties. Maybe they will just try to overwhelm Hairston on a 1 year. If he turns it down, then try to trade for somebody like Reed Johnson?

    • ClusterDuck

      Apparently my opinion is in the minority here, but NOT signing Martin and Swisher was an addition by subtraction for the Yanks.

      Both Swisher and Martin are terrible clutch hitters. Didn’t we all just witness their latest post season failures.

      Youk and Ichiro for at least the first year of his contract will get it done in 2012 and perhaps by 2014 we’ll start seeing some of the Yankee farm talent.

  • mt

    I see suggestions of Cody Ross as RH back-up but if Gomes got 2 years and Hairston supposedly will not accept less than 2 years, I would imagine Ross gets at least 2 years – hope I am wrong.

    I guess there also is the Michael Morse (albeit with bad defense) trade possibility if Nats resign laRoche.

  • bacciagaloop

    With very little offense behind him, Ichiro has accounted for 14% of Seattle’s runs since he entered the league in 2001.

    Since 2001 Jeter has accounted for 12% of the Yankees runs with far more offense behind him.

    I just have to believe that this alters wRC+ so much.

  • Chuck

    I don’t get what the fuss is about. Ichiro at 6 or 7 a year is a steal. He’s durable. I thought he’d get at least ten. This helps 2014. If prospects don’t pan out your rf is costing you zilch

    • JobaWockeeZ

      It’s because Swisher won’t be coming back. Which should have been fairly obvious that he wouldn’t because of the 2014 plan but apparently it wasn’t.

  • RetroRob

    The Yankees have done a good job at signing older players, be they their own or others, who have been productive. They just did again. $6.5M is acceptable. Second year opens risk, yet considering Ichrio’s $2.6 fWAR in 2012, he may be worth the entire value of his two year contract in 2013 alone.

  • dalelama

    The decay of the Yankees continues. 1965 is on the way.