It was back on July 23 when the New York Yankees shocked the baseball world and announced that they had acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees talked to Suzuki before bringing him in and basically told him he wouldn't be the man in New York. He would have to hit near the bottom of the order, sit against some lefties and play left field most of the time. He agreed to all of the Yankees concessions and I admired him for it.
He scored even more points with me when he changed the number he wore throughout his career, 51, to 31. He knew that the number 51 would always be associated with Bernie Williams at Yankee Stadium. I like players that have some reverence for the history of the game, even if it is just recent history.
Of course that would all mean little if he didn't perform, but he shined in his couple of months in pinstripes. In 67 games he had a batting average of .322 with 14 stolen bases. He even displayed a little bit of pop with five home runs. He still has a rocket for an arm and can cover a good amount of ground in the field. He is definitely a defensive upgrade when compared to Nick Swisher.
Suzuki was also one of the few bats that didn't completely disappear in the playoffs. He hit .275 with a home run and a stolen base.
When I put all this together I think the Yankees should try to sign the free agent. I believe the Yankees should concentrate on speed and contact hitters in the outfield and Suzuki fills both those roles. There is enough power from the infield with Rodriguez, Cano and Teixeira that table setters are what the team needs.
Suzuki just turned 39 on October 22, so a long term deal isn't what the Yankees will be offering. If he will take a one year deal for around $10 million then sign him up. The problem is that is a huge pay cut from the $17 million he made in 2012. The question becomes how much does Ichiro want a chance at a World Series ring? Of course there are other places where he would have a shot at one, but the Yankees have made the playoffs 16 of the last 17 years and that speaks for itself. I hope Ichiro will be found patrolling right field in Yankee Stadium in 2013 and make the bleacher creatures forget about Nick Swisher.
Darren Pare is a third generation Yankees fan. The unique thing is that he lives in the middle of Red Sox nation, Maine, and has for all his life and that gives him a different perspective. You can follow him on Twitter @dpare71 or on Facebook.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Ichiro Suzuki
- the New York Yankees
- Seattle Mariners