Sherman: Yankees will need to go two years to re-sign Ichiro


Via Joel Sherman & Jon Heyman: The Yankees are positive they will re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, but it’s going to take a two-year contract because the Phillies offered him two years and $7M annually. George King reports that a few other clubs made two-year offers as well, and the two sides are talking about a $12-13M guarantee.

I didn’t love the idea of re-signing Ichiro to be the full-time right fielder to start with, but giving him two years would be pretty terrible in my opinion. That goes double when you consider a) they didn’t bother to make a two-year offer to Russell Martin (who is far more difficult to replace), and b) the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014. A 39-year-old corner outfielder who’s posted a 93 wRC+ over the last three years (84 over the last two years) isn’t deserving of a multi-year contract.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Bartolo I Hurt My Colon says:

    It’s really crazy that they went two years with Ichiro and refused to match Martin’s offer, which to me was a more essential player than Ichiro to this team. God how I wish George was alive……

    • DC says:

      Here we go again. Take off the George-colored glasses and look honestly at some of the bone-headed moves George ordered.

      • Preston says:

        I blame George for not signing this guy when he came over from Japan. Where was his big checkbook when the greatest lead-off hitter of our generation could have been gotten for a cheap 13 million dollar posting fee and a 3 year 14 million dollar contract. A season after being a cheap ass and using Shane Spencer and Ricky Ledee in LF, big money George’s big money move to fill the OF void was to move Chuck Knobauch to LF. No wonder we lost to the D-backs that year. And in 2002 he signed Rondell White instead of shelling out the dough for Johnny Damon, that cheap son of a bitch not only cost us the 2002 and 2003 WS with that cheap move, but gift wrapped 2004 to the Sox as well.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      When George was alive, Yanks traded away Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps and he tried to antagonize his own players and managers.

      Yanks also almost traded away Mo, twice, and let Bernie join the Red Sox.

  2. The Real Greg says:

    It all depends on the money being made in the second year. This could easily be a front loaded contract. for one year and maybe have an option for a second year.

    And whats with all the Russell Martin love? Wasn’t hearing about this in the season.

    • MB923 says:

      I doubt the 2nd year is an option year. And it doesn’t matter if he makes more in year 1 or year 2, it doesn’t change the payroll for next year even if he makes less. So let’s say he gets $8 mil in Year 1 and $4 mil in year 2, it counts as $6 mil each year towards the payroll, not $8 mil 1 year and $4 mil the 2nd year.

    • Preston says:

      The haters are always loudest. I always liked Russel, I wouldn’t have been willing to go all out to sign him, but 2/17 is reasonable. I really dislike giving Ichiro two years, and it doesn’t matter if the deal is front loaded. AAV is what counts. Unless it’s a team option, then it’s like a one year deal. But I don’t think he turned down a two year deal for more money in favor of a one year deal with a cheap team option. Honestly I don’t know that Ichiro is better than Dickerson, and I’m not one of the people who think Dickerson is actually good.

      • OldYanksFan says:

        Well… Ichiro is faster, has a lot more experiencee, has a better arm, is better on defense, and will probably outhit Dickerson. Aside from this, they are pretty similar.

        • Preston says:

          Well… Ichiro definitely has more experience for whatever that is worth, but Dickerson is also a very good defender and base runner. In 299 games in the big leagues he has been worth 14 runs above average on defense, while swiping 27 bases in 33 tries (he’s stolen 35 bases in 42 tries in 126 games at Scranton). While that’s not Ichiro good, it’s very good. On the offensive side, Dickerson walks more (11.2%) and hits for more power (.141 ISO) than Ichiro ever has. So basically what I’m saying is they are probably paying a lot of money to have a great defender/baserunner and below average offensive player, instead of having a very good defender/baserunner and below average offensive player for the league minimum. If it was a one year deal I’d say an upgrade is an upgrade, go for it. But since it’s a two year deal they are now talking about, I think it’s wasted money under next years cap, especially since most of Ichiro’s value is in his athleticism which could erode at any time given that he’ll be 40 next year.

    • JU says:

      Front loaded is irrelevant… The AAV is what is calculated for Luxury Tax. This is an awful signing. So awful that people are rewriting Thurman (I mean Russell) Martin’s history…

  3. Seth says:

    Generally I think Cashman and his team make good choices, but I would really like someone to explain these decisions. No matter which way you look at it right now, giving Ichiro a 2yr/$14 deal and not giving Martin a 2yr/$17 is just plain illogical. I am not for or against one or the other, I just think Yankee fans are smart enough to warrent an explanation.

    • The Real Greg says:

      But why the big deal over Martin? The guy hit .221 and his defense at times was schotty. If this was Yadier Molina, I could understand the outrage.

      • Preston says:

        Because Martin provided around league average offense (wRC+ of 100 and 95) for us the last two years while being an above average defender at a premium defensive position (he is also an above average baserunner at a position where almost nobody isn’t a liability on the base paths). Ichiro has been a below leage average hitter the last two seasons (wRC+ of 79 and 90) and while he is a an excellent defender and baserunner RF is a premium offensive position. So in short, if you were going to go two years for one of these marginal offensive players why not the younger guy, who’s been better, and plays a premium position.

      • DaveaM says:

        agreed 100%

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        There seems to be a bigger gap between Martin and the likely alternatives than there is between Ichiro and the likely alternatives.

        • Steve says:

          Keep in mind that Ichiro has never played in hitter-friendly ballparks. I think he’ll be helped by playing 81 games at Yankee stadium.

    • jim p says:

      At this date, what other outfield options are there for them? They might have just boxed themselves in by waiting too long to give him a hefty one-year offer, while other teams got to offer him longer contracts. If he wants to be a Yankee for one year so much, why wouldn’t he want to be one for two years?

      Of course, my dream reason is that the Yanks have just now decided to give up going for the 189 figure, and this is the first deal since that decision.

      As to Ichiro, I don’t think he’s washed up yet. He’ll stay athletic and a contributor for at least two years, is my guess.

      • Preston says:

        Dickerson isn’t Ichiro, but he’s also a plus defender and base-runner. He could probably muster approaching league average offensive production (wRC+ of 103 in 599 MLB PA’s) while costing the league minimum. Going two years for Ichiro seems like money wasted.

    • Drew says:

      I think it has to do with the Yankees believe that Romine can be a starting catcher in the MLB by 2014. Having a catcher making league minimum and is cost controlled until Sanchez arrives (if he ever does) is very valuable. That being said, if the Yankees give Ichiro a 2 year contract, it might be the dumbest thing they have done in a while, unless there is another move to be made and he is replacing Gardner, which I just cannot see happening.

      Summary: Romine 2014 yes Ichiro on 2 year deal NOOOOO!

    • fat jeter says:

      i thought the deal was 2/12.

  4. The DonSlaught says:

    2 years for Ichiro, on principle, is Bad Idea jeans.

    Clearly it wouldn’t be a bank-breaker, but this idea of creating an Old Timer’s team for the hell of it is getting old.

    If they’re looking to sign anyone for 2 years – it better be Scott Hairston.

  5. MB923 says:

    I’m just still a bit surprised he’s taking less to play here than in Philly and San Fran, both of whom offered more than what the Yankees are.

    • dkidd says:

      did san fran offer him 2 years? if so, that says a lot about how much he liked his yankee experience

      • MB923 says:

        Mark Feinsand ?@FeinsandNYDN
        Source: Ichiro not only has 2 yr/$14M offer from Phillies, but 2 yr/$15M offer from team believed to be the Giants. Will take less from NYY.

        • dkidd says:

          man wants to perform on the world’s biggest stage

          love it

          • Deep Thoughts says:

            More like, wants to be one of the guys in a clubhouse full of Hall of Famers his own age, instead of being the babysitter in a clubhouse whose leaders are 10-15 years younger than he is.

  6. Jimmy Page says:

    ownership move not giving russell 2 yr or some sort of bluff

    trade for mauer or sign aj pierzinski

    let ichiro walk and trade for a power hitting right fielder call angels???

  7. G says:

    Well I do understand that they’re somewhat desperate now, and someone has to play there next year.

  8. Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA True Yankee(TM) says:

    Every single word of this…

  9. RetroRob says:

    Not a fan, although if it’s $12-13M I’m guessing that’s total spread across two years. They might structure it so there is a second year, but a player option that will likely be tripped by Ichiro. There clearly is something funky going on with how they’re trying to structure the deal, which is why it’s taking so long.

    I’ll wait to see the details. Rather pay higher for one year than lock him into a second year.

    • The Real Greg says:


    • RetroRob says:

      “Player option” to leave. An opt out, to be clear. In other words, $8M in 2013, and $5M in 2014, but a player opt out where he’ll get $2M to walk away. Basically, he gets $10M for his one year of work and some protection against a career-ending injury, but near certainty that he’ll leave after 2013.

      I’m not really sure if this even makes sense for the Yankees, but it might be something off like this they’re trying to structure that basically means the Yankees pay more for 2013, but he’s gone after this upcomiong season.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        In your scenario, Ichiro would count for $3.5M in 2014 if he opts out and leaves, and still $6.5M in 2014 if he doesn’t opt out. That would seem to be a lose/lose scenario for the Yankees (unless Ichiro finds the fountain of youth).

        A better scenario for the Yankees, if they absolutely have to go 2 years, would be to make the second year a somewhat easily to be attained vesting team option or regular team option with a sizable buyout (to appease Ichiro’s desire for a second year). Maybe $7M for 2013, with a $6M team option for 2014 that vests with 100 games played and has a $3M buyout. This way, if the option is picked up/vests, he would only count for $3M in luxury tax payroll for 2014.

  10. The Real Greg says:

    So he had a 2/$14 deal from the Phillies and a 2/$15 deal from the Giants.

  11. vin says:

    “A 39-year-old corner outfielder who’s posted a 93 wRC+ over the last three years (84 over the last two years) isn’t deserving of a multi-year contract.”

    Yeah, but he could wRC+ 115 if he wanted to.

  12. wilk says:

    this is ridiculous. we couldn’t beat an offer of 1 year, 2 million and change for schierholtz, but now we’re willing to give 2 years and 14 million for ichiro?

    man, this is bad

  13. Ed says:

    How about something like this? 1 year, $7m contract. $6 vesting team option for next season with a $3m buyout.

    Due to the team option, it counts against the luxury tax this year as $10m, next year as $3m. Make it easily vesting to hopefully satisfy Ichiro so that it’s almost as good as a 2 year guarantee. Basically only works out worse for Ichiro if he completely sucks this year.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      If this is true, this sounds like the best option. Perhaps they tried to get Martin to take something similar and he wasn’t having it?

      • RetroRob says:

        I don’t think they ever got to negotiating with Martin. I think Russell pulled the ripcord before he showed up on the Yankees list. I think it was a mistake on the Yankees part and Martin’s part. Maybe.

    • Jerkface says:

      In that situation it will count as 6 million for 2014. Mutual/Team/Vesting options count as their value when they are employed. The buy out going into the AAV is only for the guaranteed years.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

        But they can deduct the value of the already taxed buyout in the option year, if the option is picked up. So the net luxury tax payroll cost would be $3M.

  14. Get Phelps Up says:

    Ichiro isn’t someone you bend over backward to sign. Let him go to the Phillies and sign Swisher.

  15. dkidd says:

    i’m expecting 2014 to be a bridge year (unless everything goes right with pineda/hughes/nova), so i can live with 2nd year if it helps mo and andy make one last run in 2013


  16. Knoxvillain says:

    Off topic, but Sanchez signs with the Cubs.

  17. The Evil Umpire says:


  18. The Real Greg says:

    Anibal Sanchez to the Cubs for possible 5 years $75 million.

  19. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    I thought Ichiro was one of the better 1 year options, but now that this is turning into a 2 year deal I’d rather they pass.
    I’m also pondering why they wouldn’t go 2 years for Martin if they are willing to do so for Ichiro.
    I’m also pondering why they didn’t pursue Melky(2/17, and a lot more upside than Ichiro)
    I’d rather they go the Youkilis route and overpay Ichiro for 1 year to keep our flexibility open next year, hopefully these reports are false and the Yanks end up with Ichiro on a year $9mil deal.

  20. Big Member says:

    wow at people who are saying “oh why did ichiro take less money?”. eventhough san francsco has a very large chinese population, new york boasts one of the highest chinese populations in the nation. plus in san francso he would have no friends on the team and would be very sad while his best bud kuroda will be offering emotional support from the mound in new york.

  21. The Real Greg says:

    Tell you something.

    With this signing by the Cubs, the price of FA pitching went through the roof.

    Rangers and Angels may want to look into trades to improve their rotations, which is where both NY teams can come into play.

  22. entonces says:

    Why not offer him $12 mill for one year? That’s a lot better than the Phillie deal and keeps him off the books next year. (If someone else has suggested, sorry for the echo — haven’t read all the ecomments)
    Sure, it’s an overpay but presumably this year’s budget means less. Maybe.

  23. The Real Eddard says:

    They could have had him for 1 year if they hadn’t sat around for a month while Ichiro was saying that he’d come back on a 1 year deal. They let him shop around. They let him find a better deal. Once again, this F.O. has outbid itself! How do you do that over and over again?

    • Preston says:

      I like that you have been banging the drum to sign this guy, and now that it’s getting done you still aren’t happy. I hope all this on-line negativity is just a cathartic exercise for you and that you don’t go around being this upset all the time.

    • The Real Greg says:

      So instead of resigning Pettitte, resigning Rivera, resigning Kuroda, and avoiding arbitration with Gardner, they should have concentrated on Ichiro.


  24. The Real Greg says:

    Actually the Sanchez deal is not done and supposedly the Tigers are still in the mix.

    I don’t see the Tigers overblowing that deal, so I think he still goes to the Cubs.

  25. Mike says:

    I dont know about the rest of you but I really like the fact that he signed for less money then what other teams were offering. Its not always about the money but being happy where you play

    • Preston says:

      It’s easy for it to not be about the money when you have around 150 million in career earnings. Not counting his time in Japan or endorsements.

      • RetroRob says:

        Along those lines, it may very well be to Ichiro’s advantage to take a little less money to be associated with the Yankee brand, easily the best known in Japan. It might be generating a few more dollars for him back home.

      • dkidd says:

        it’s NEVER easy for it to not be about the money. i’m choosing to like it

  26. emac2 says:

    Classic snooze you lose.

    Some day the front office will figure out this new multitasking thing and try talking with two players on the same day.

  27. Darren says:

    This is a GREAT deal for the Yankees, as is the Youkilis deal. All of you are dreaming about getting superstars on 1 year deals like a 14 year old virgin masturbating to Megan Fox. You should just be really happy your cute neighbor is willing to bang you, even if she’s got a slight moustache and will make you snuggle a little longer than you’d like.

  28. Chris says:

    Maybe he can catch…

  29. Rick says:

    A) they’re clearly running the team from a pure financial point right now, as signing Ichiro for two years can only be justified based on marketing deals and sponsorships, not performance.

    2) was reading Law’s evaluation of the Hamilton deal and the name Hank Conger popped up. Is this someone worth pursuing for the yanks? Maybe Nova or Hughes? Is that too much? I’m not good at this player for prospect thing and my trade proposal sucks.

    • A.D. says:

      Conger has yet to hit in the majors, and PCL stats can only be trusted to a certain degree

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Revenue is generally driven by wins more than anything else. Certainly Ichiro might have some additional financial benefits, but if the team wants to make money it doesn’t want to lose games.

      • Preston says:

        Ticket sales definitely make the most money, and that’s driven by winning. I’m pretty sure merchandise sales go to MLB and are doled out amongst the league, except for sales at the game, so a player like Ichiro could have a marginal effect (my girlfriend wanted to buy his t-shirt jersey at a game last year, I told her it was a waste of money because he’d be gone after the season, foot meet mouth). Although I read an article after 2009 arguing for keeping Matsui because he paid his own salary, it said having a Japanese player on the team can generate around 10 million dollars in extra revenue because of Japanese corporate sponsorships. I don’t know if that’s true (maybe those sponsors like being associated with the Yankee brand anyways) or if having Ichiro generates anymore money than just having Hiroki, just a thought.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Yeah, I don’t know the details. I have heard that the Yankees games are televised on network television in Japan (granted, might be at odd times of day), so there might be some benefit if that’s even true.

  30. George says:

    It really looks like the Yankees don’t want to do multi-year contracts, and don’t have much money to spend, unless they want to. Don’t have the money for a proven starting catcher, but we have it for Boooklis. We like Chavez, and will talk to him “later”. It’s getting hard to believe what you hear vs what they do. Would be nice to get some consistency and maybe “truth”.

  31. Phil says:

    There were some writers that wanted to offer Martin a qualifying offer of 13.3 million for 1 year so Ichiro at 2 years 14 million isn’t earth shattering. Ichiro is in better shape than half of all ballplayers in MLB. I believe the Yanks feel Romine is ready and will probably put up the same numbers Martin did except a few less homers. It still comes down to pitching and we have the guys to form a formidable staff.

    • JRod says:

      I agree, The most likely answer to all the catcher angst and speculation is that the Yanks like Romine more than is generally known, I really don’t mind starting the season with a platoon of Stewart and Cervelli, and maybe we’ll see Romine later on.

  32. Mike says:

    Everyone must understand, more moves are coming.

  33. Luisergi says:

    Fuck that deal for Ichiro, give that money to A.J. instead if that’s the case.

  34. Rich in NJ says:

    I agree with Mike, it’s “pretty terrible.”

  35. Gonzalo Hiram says:

    Ichiro is taking less money, Rusell wanted them to match.

    A .211 AVG is just horrible, there is no point arguing that, his caught stealing percentage was a bad 24% and also 9 passed balls, there isn`t nothing to cry for haha.

  36. Roy Munson says:

    Russel Martin doesn’t sell as many tickets or jersey’s as Ichiro. Don’t agree with it, but for ownership that doesn’t want to compete in 2014 its a move that makes sense… for them…

  37. emac2 says:

    Martin doesn’t sell tickets.

    He doesn’t hit

    and he isn’t a very good catcher.

    The fact that Pittsburgh paid him a bunch of money doesn’t mean he is any good.

  38. Frank says:

    It’s going to be a long couple of years to be a Yankee fan.

    • G says:

      What you mean not going into the season 100% sure they’ll make the post-season? Welcome to 50% of baseball fandom. The other 50% goes in with no chance whatsoever, so just be happy you’re not them.

  39. ultimate913 says:

    I think what this means is that Granderson will definitely be gone after the season. Yankees either want to target someone in next years FA class(unlikely) or they only expect one of the kids(Austin, Heathcott, Williams) to be ready by 2014.

    Moving Gardner to CF and Ichiro and the prospect taking up LF/RF.

    Which, honestly, I’d be fine with.

  40. Mark L says:

    Pretty obvious a marketing gimmick – Cashman could make up for batting .500 on big money deals because he did do well with complementary pieces. This offseason has been a disappointing mess thus far.

  41. wiljaq Yankfan says:

    Ichiro is just too OLD. Now the that the CHEAP brain trust hasn’t gone for Josh Hamilton, why not scrap all these old guys (you ain’t gonna win anything with them ANYWAY), and bring some new blood to the Bronx baseball team. Heck, the 1975 Yankees were fun to watch, and with a few gutsy George M. additions (oh how I miss him!!!) turned into something great 2 years later.

  42. mustang says:

    Also have to look at this as a business move Ichiro is probably going to fill more seats. As a season ticketholder the one thing I notice is that the Asian community is loyal to their players and come to the games to see them play. If he comes close to 3000 hits within the next 2 years he will probably stay around to do it as a Yankees and there another Yankeeography.

  43. Adam says:

    I cannot believe we really signed him to a two year deal but let Martin walk without an offer and haven’t even had any dialogue whatsoever with Swish about returning. This team is so poorly run it’s not even funny.

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.