The Yankees were in need of an outfielder and Ichiro Suzuki was in need of a change of scenery. Timing sure is everything, isn’t it?
Ten years ago this trade would have been considered a blockbuster of a deal. It would have also cost the Yankees much more than what they recently gave up to get Ichiro. The list of accolades for Ichiro seems endless. He’s a ten-time Gold Glove winner, ten-time All-Star, and a two-time batting champion. He wasted no time making an impact for the Seattle Mariners and on Major League baseball, winning Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in 2001.
Throughout his career with the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro was basically a hit machine. He could change the pace of a ballgame with his speed and his defense. Ichiro may not be the player he was ten years ago, however that’s alright. The Yankees don’t need him to be that player, although it wouldn’t exactly hurt either.
Trading for Ichiro this year isn’t about adding another high profile superstar to the Yankees lineup. It’s about a team that always plays to win in all aspects of the game, and a player who is looking for one last run at a championship that’s eluded him. Ichiro fills a void the Yankees were greatly concerned about in their outfield. He gets to go from a losing atmosphere to a winning ballclub that won’t settle for anything short of a successful month of October.
When his playing career is over he’ll be celebrated as a Seattle Mariner, not for his time in pinstripes. He knew his time in Seattle was winding down and the Mariners are in the midst of a youth movement. The move to New York City and a team in the middle of a playoff chase is expected to rejuvenate him in ways that Seattle just wasn’t going to be able to provide.
Ichiro doesn’t need to be a hit machine for the Yankees and he doesn’t need to be the face of their franchise. Their just asking him to play well in the outfield, bring his speed game to the lineup and have productive at-bats for the remainder of 2012. He knows what he’s suiting up for in this union; if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have asked to be moved in the first place. Both the player and the team hopes the reward of a championship will be at the end of the road.