Jennings: Yankees shopping Ichiro Suzuki


Via Chad Jennings: The Yankees are shopping spare outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in trade talks. Nothing is imminent and there are indications other clubs value him as nothing more than a fourth outfielder. His trade value is minimum at this point of his career.

Ichiro, 40, hit .262/.297/.342 (71 wRC+) with seven homers and 20 stolen bases in 555 plate appearances this past season, setting several career worsts. He is a man without a role — unless the Yankees trade Brett Gardner, which is always a possibility — thanks to recent Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran pickups. If the team can move him for some salary relief, even $2-3M, it’ll be a win. I mentioned to Moshe the other day that I was weirdly confident the Yankees would be able to trade Ichiro (Phillies? Giants?) and he basically laughed at me, just to give you someone else’s perspective.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Travis L. says:

    I also believe he will be dealt this winter. I’m going to assume, though, that the Yankees will eat about $5-$5.5 million of his $6.5 million and will get back a middle reliever. Kinda like a Chris Stewart for George Kontos trade. Just have to find the right suitor.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      I know that Ichiro is considered ‘useless’, but depending on extra OF’ers on the farm that could be brought up, I don’t think $1m-$2m in payroll relief is worth trading him.

      He is still above average on D and on the basepaths. He will still have some use as a LIDR for Beltran (to rest his knees) and as a pinch runner. Frankly, making Beltran a 7 inning defender would be a good idea.

      Now if some sucker needs only $3.5m (or less) of his salary paid, then I’m OK (if we net $3m+). But again, as much as he is hated, he does have some use… just not $6.5m worth of use.

      • Laz says:

        But if they can get a reliever I’m ok with it. It’s handy to have a guy like Ichiro on the bench, who can still play all 3 of spots, his bat sucks, but you could do a lot worse if they are taking someone from the minors.

      • trr says:

        I might be the biggest Ichiro fan on this board, but the man is just about done. He is a future HOF-er (yup), but the end is here. If we can get any kind of value in return, then he should be dealt, for the good of the team….

  2. Not and Ichiro fan, so if they can get something back for him (relief help?) that would be great. There’s no way I eat any of his salary though.

    • Jimmy James says:

      Well you can’t have both. The Yankees either need to eat some salary in order to get a reliever, or don’t eat salary and get a career AA player. Either way they ultimately lose in any potential deal (their own doing, I might add) because they have absolutely NO leverage.

    • Cuso says:

      If you want to trade Ichiro, you HAVE to eat a portion of the salary. Any team that would eat $6M+ on a 40-year old OF has a troglodyte for a GM

  3. Cuso says:

    Everyone except the FO knew that the second year for Ichiro would be an albatross, apparently.

  4. MD says:

    I’d rather trade Gardner and his entire ’14 salary and get something more than we ever could’ve expected than dump Ichiro and eat most of his contract. But one of them should go. You’d be selling at an all-time high (imo) with Gardner and selling at an all-time low with Ichiro.

    • Theonewhoknocks says:

      Gardners value now is a lot lower than it was a couple years ago.
      Also, there’s no such thing as selling low on Ichiro. He is what he is. It’s not like they can bank on him having a great first half and flipping him then.

      I think with Beltran and Sorianos advanced age, and combined with Ellsburys fragilty-this roster desperately needs a competent backup plan. Someone who can play every day, hold down CF and play above average. Gardner is a perfect fit for this roster. I think Soriano and Beltran should DH frequently (Soriano should be the primary DH with Gardner in LF most days)

      The Yankees should only trade Gardner if they were offered a 3-4 win 2B or SP in return. Some of the rumored guys like Kendrick and Bailey qualify, though I think it’s unlikely the Yanks will get that much in return

      • jimmy james says:

        Can’t agree more with this. I think last year the Yankees found out what it’s like to not have a “competent” backup plan. Having Gardner as a psuedo-fourth outfielder who definitely be a sound plan going into 2014.

        • Agreed we shouldn’t trade unless its a real hot trade.

          Albeit, I did find this interesting suggestion on PSA today, “Gardner for Bailey and Phillips on the condition we eat 100% of the latter’s obscene contract.”

        • Batsman says:

          No team can have “competent” backup plan. In the case of the severely decimated 2013 New York Yankees, when every single core impact player of the 1st team (worth $150+ mil )and parts of the “second team” went on the DL, the only way to replace them was to build another “first team.”

      • MD says:

        You left out the current market in assessing Gardner’s value. That’s a big factor for teams that aren’t going to spend like drunken sailors. Also, Gardner showed uncharacteristic extra-base punch last year — by a wide margin. Some might believe that will continue (I don’t). Regarding his role if he stays, I can’t map out the “heavily used” 4th outfielder idea. If Jeter needs to DH a lot and Soriano and the new guys start out the year healthy, Gardner will be a traditionally used 4th OF — after being the starting CF and getting a big raise for ’14.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          Gardner should easily be able to get 140+ starts on the current roster – if they play according to the best interests of the team.

          • MD says:

            Even with the best interests of the team in mind, I don’t know about “easily”. Gardner has to continue to be what he was last year; and when Jeter wants to play but can’t play SS, he’ll DH. Some special handling is going to be required this season if Jeter doesn’t take the field as the SS on most days.

            • Barney G says:

              Eh, the only ‘special handling’ needed is to use Soriano as a pure platoon guy, who spells Gardner/Ellsbury against tough lefties.

              • MD says:

                Hmmm. 30+ dingers and 100 rbi to pure platoon? And if it’s pure, he should play against all lefties not only tough ones. Either way Soriano goes from carrying the team for a month to losing 2/3 of his playing time? Jeter can’t use up the DH spot. That’s the problem if you wanna keep two every day players in Soriano and Gardner.

                • Barney G says:

                  Someone will get hurt, whether it’s Jeter/Ellsbury/Beltran, and Sori will get some extended playing time. Like a 2011 Andruw Jones who plays closer to 100 games.

  5. Theonewhoknocks says:

    I do think we’ll be able to move him, but well probably only save $1-1.5m and we’d get back a non prospect in return.
    Which I’m okay with. I’d rather give zoilo the roster spot this season, let’s end the Vernon wells/Ichiro at bats please.

    • Farewell. Mo says:

      He’s far worse than Ichiro at this point with his .259 wOBA and negative WAR last year.

      If the Yankees have to most of Ichiro’s salary, I’d rather just keep him as a back up outfielder. At least he plays great defense and can steal a base.

      • Almonte was injured half the time he was on the 25MR to be fair.

      • Nuke Guy says:

        I’d much rather have Almonte than Ichiro. Ichiro is completely done. He hasn’t hit in years. You can’t talk about Almonte’s WAR and wOBA when he barely has any big league experience.

        Hopefully Ichiro is gone soon. I don’t care if they trade him for a bag of balls as long as he’s off this team.

  6. FLYER7 says:

    What if any value does Ichiro have in the Tanaka “recruitment”?

  7. john says:

    i might infer that this reflects front-office pessimism around the Tanaka situation?

  8. Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling) says:

    I said this the other day, but wouldn’t there be some appeal, at this point in time, for Seattle to take him back. Seems like a retirement tour plus Robbie could generate some buzz up there, even if it doesn’t mean jack shit on the field. Perhaps there’s a buy low opportunity on one of their many failed can’t-miss guys.

    At this point, you can just give Zoilo Ichiro’s at bats, and any retirement stuff in pinstripes would be overshadowed if Jeter announces his.

  9. Munson says:

    An outfield rotation of Gardner, Ellsbury, Soriano and Beltran would be pretty strong. Two leftys, two rightys. Sori and Beltran are senior citizens and should get some rest. Ellsbury is fragile and is likley headed for the DL any day now …

    As someone else said, Wells and Ichiro can not get at bats on this team next year. If they want to keep Ichiro as a $7m defensive and baserunning replacement, that would be sad,but ok with me. But according to the advanced metric called “watching him not get to balls” I dont really see him as much of a defensive upgrade over Sori or Beltran.

  10. whitey says:

    I don’t understand the Gardner is the 4th OFer talk.

    • Pseudoyanks says:

      I think it’s just “semantics”. He’s now 4th best with the bat. I expect him to play 125 games in the OF with Sori and Beltran DHing a lot.

      • MD says:

        For that to happen, Jeter better be a fully healed, 120-130 game SS again. DH’g him will come before benching him if he isn’t.

        • Pseudoyanks says:

          I probably am in the minority here but I believe Jeter is our starting 3B (and not in a Bubba Crosby is my starting CFer sort of way.) I think that’s why he got the mysterious contract/raise that he got. Handshake agreement to move to 3B in March. Will be staged as the Capitan doing it for the good of the team in a face saving way. Wait for it.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          It can work with Jeter even getting only about 90-100 games at SS (with another 40-50 at DH).

          • MD says:

            How many games between DH and LF for Soriano in your scheme? He must be doing some sitting against LHP for Gardner to get 140+ starts.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

              Soriano would be doing some sitting against RHP presumably, not LHP.
              I’ve posted this before, so I’ll just link to my hypothetical playing time breakdown.


              • Barney G says:

                I don’t think you can really assume that Jeter is going to play a single game at SS until he actally does it.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                  I assume they’re going to make every effort to let him try.
                  It’s not like they have another starting caliber SS on the roster.
                  If he can’t do it, they can make an adjustment then.
                  Playing Gardner regularly is still probably in the Yankees best interests even then though.
                  Equally likely to Jeter not playing SS would be one or more of the OF’s being injured anyways, in which case they’ll still need the OF depth.

              • MD says:

                Jeter is still the big issue in that I can’t see him benched — esp if he declares himself ready to play to start the season. You’ll sit through a lot of poor performance before making that tough decision. And you’ve filled up the DH starts between only 4 players. I doubt Girardi will do that. Tex and Johnson and probably all your other starting fielders will get 1/2 days off. Need more space in your scheme. There’ll more sitting, DHs, and spot starts from the bench than what you’ve mapped out — even without inevitable injuries.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                  There’s really no need at all to DH Johnson.
                  If he needs rest, sit him against a LHP.
                  (not that he should be a full-time starter to begin with)
                  Same with Tex really.
                  If he’s swinging a hot bat, then you could DH him once in a while, maybe twice a month.
                  It’s really not a big problem, and more than likely, injuries will make all of this completely moot.

  11. Matt says:

    Hey Mike, would the Cubs ever listen to an offer for Gardner? They have been looking for a CF. And I think he wld be even better in the NL.

  12. Pseudoyanks says:

    Let’s just Post him. Yanks could use $20M.

  13. SDB says:

    If they get even a couple of million of salary relief and a minor prospect, I’ll offer to drive Ichiro wherever.

  14. Ed says:

    If Gardner is traded, who plays centerfield when Jacoby needs rest or is hurt? Gardner will probably get 40 starts in center.

  15. Ray says:

    Hmm… Can an MLB team trade with NPL team?

  16. Dee says:

    This may sound ridiculous but what about Ichiro for Papelbon?

  17. mustang says:

    I’m also “weirdly confident” that they will trade him to the Giants maybe. I think people are undervaluing him a bit in an Asian market with 3000 coming up, speed on bases, and his D they might get a little more than what people think.

  18. Batsman says:

    HOLD ON to Ichiro, unless a good deal is on the table. The Yankees should not trade him for the sake of just trading him. His value will go once the season starts as he will be very valuable to contending teams in need of veteran players, particularly Hall of Fame caliber type. The Yankees and their fans should know this because, that is what WE have done…exactly that….in the past.

  19. whitey says:

    Is there anything to trading Ichiro to a team/city that has a larger Asian population? Does he still bring people out?

  20. There's the Door says:

    Who exactly do you suppose would take Suzuki, and why?
    Gardner will go, likely for a pitcher, within ten days.

  21. Barney G says:

    I think that a Gardner+Corban(?)+Campos(?)for Bailey could be a start. Cincinnati probably wants more though.

  22. Bill O says:

    Yea I think in order to trade Ichiro the Yankees will either have to pay him to play elsewhere (minimal salary relief) or move him in a deal where the other team is sending a high priced player our way. So for example I could see him sent to Milwakee in a deal for Aramis Ramirez or something like that.

  23. Joey says:

    It sounds like an onion article:
    “Baseball team looking to trade old, awful player making millions of dollars.”

    In a desperate attempt for leverage, GM Brian Cashman, wearing dark sunglasses indoors, stated aloofly, “We don’t feel like we HAVE to trade him, but if the right deal comes along, we have to listen.”

  24. Bill James says:

    What’s the Yankees lineup looking like right now?

    • Dan says:

      Against Righties, no A-Rod


      Against Lefties, No A-Rod
      RF/DH–McCann (I originally had Beltran here, but I don’t think Girardi would stack lefties McCann and Johnson next)
      LF–Gardy (I think Girardi will go with the 9-1-2 against lefties).

      Against Righties w/ A-Rod

      Against Lefties with A-Rod
      RF/DH–McCann (I originally had Beltran here, but I don’t think Girardi would stack lefties McCann and Johnson next)
      LF–Gardy (I think Girardi will go with the 9-1-2 against lefties).

      No matter what the lineup is deeper than last year. They basically just need to sign or trade for 1 more IF and they’re in extremely good shape.

    • Nuke Guy says:

      Assuming everything goes right and with their current roster, I would say:

      Ellsbury CF
      Jeter SS
      Teixeira 1B
      Beltran RF
      Soriano DH
      McCann C
      Johnson 3B
      Nunez 2B
      Gardner LF

      I would be all for switching Jeter and Gardner and having everyone move up a spot with Jeter going to 7th, but we know that will never happen. Then again, if Jeter comes out and hits .310 I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

  25. Dan says:

    I don’t think they’ll have a problem moving him. $6.5m for 1 year of a ~1.5 WAR player is not outlandish. I think the Yanks may get better value if they wait a bit to move him. This money would go a long way towards filling out the roster. If they go the reclamation SP route, then they could lock up that SP and Reynolds with that money.

  26. Grover says:

    Ichiro to the Mariners for his Mo-like farewell tour would put more fannies in the stands than Cano will. They have tons of money to spend, a hole in right right field and I hear management doesn’t like young kids much.

    • hogsmog says:

      I don’t know if he necessarily left Seattle on the best of terms. Word on the street was that he was sort of a dick with an inflated ego, and I don’t think you flip a ‘hometown hero’ midseason during the final year of his contract. Do you think the Yankees would have done that to Mo last season if they were out of contention by the trade deadline?

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