The New York Yankees have bought ten-time All-Star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners for 2 pitching prospects.
The teams announced the trade hours before their 3-game series opener in Seattle. Ichiro, who had spent his entire top career with the Mariners, will make his Yankees debut in the contest at Safeco Field.
Following a short conversation with the Japanese star, Yankees manager Joe Girardi finished NY’ starting lineup with Ichiro batting 8th and playing right field.
Ichiro, 38, is in the final year of a 5-year, $90 million deal. During a meeting to broadcast the contract, Ichiro acknowledged that he requested to be traded, stating that it was in his best interest to not return to the rebuilding Mariners in 2013.
“When I spent time in the All-Star break to think, I noticed that this team has many players in their early 20s,” Ichiro said thru a translator. “I began to think I should not be on this team next year. I also started to feel a desire to be in an atmosphere that I might have a different kind of stimulation than I have right now.”
The last-place Seattle Mariners granted Ichiro’s request in sending him to the 1st-place Yankees, who enter Monday’s game with the best record in the majors at 57-38.
“I’m going from a team having the most losses to a team with the most wins, so it’s been hard to keep my excitement,” he claimed.
The Yankees also received cash considerations from the Mariners, who acquired reliever D.J. Mitchell and junior league right-hander Danny Farquhar. Betting lines
Ichiro figures to provide a significant boost to the N.Y Yankees, who were swept by the Oakland Athletics in a 4-game series this past weekend and have been looking for outfield depth since likely losing left fielder Brett Gardner to a season-ending elbow injury.
Although Ichiro has played lots of his career in right field, Girardi said the Yankees’ primary plan is to use the vet as a replacement to Gardner in left field. Ichiro will fill in Monday for right fielder Nick Swisher, who has been sidelined with a hip injury.
“We’re really excited to have him,” Girardi related. “We believe that he brings a speed component, an incredible hitter. That speed component is something that we lost when (Gardner) had surgery. So this is a big day for us.”
The agreement flags the end of Ichiro’s significant reign with the Seattle Mariners. MLB’s 1st Japanese-born position player, Ichiro is the Mariners’ all time leader in batting average and hits. He was named the AL’s MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001, when he helped lead Seattle to the best regular season in history.
Ichiro also won 2 American League batting titles and 10 Gold Glove awards in his 11-plus seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
“It is tricky for me to concisely express my feelings,” Ichiro said. “When I imagined taking off the Mariner uniform, I was overcome with sadness. It has made this a very difficult decision to make.”