The New York Yankees could be close to filling one of the voids on their roster as a report from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests Ichiro Suzuki is close to a return to the Bombers’ outfield.
Suzuki, 39, had a very successful 67 games for the Yankees after being traded by the Seattle Mariners July 23. He hit .322 with a .340 OBP and .454 SLG in pinstripes, which dwarfed his line with the Mariners to that point (.261/.288/.353). His numbers were even better in Yankee Stadium, .338/.363/.531 including five home runs in 139 plate appearances.
The allure of Suzuki is the fact that he is willing to take a one-year deal, though terms of the offer(s) being tossed around have not surfaced. Suzuki earned $17 million in 2012. Olney predicts that the Yankees and Suzuki could agree “within the next couple days.” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says a source told him the Yankees “are all over [Suzuki].”
The Yankees would have three left-handed hitting outfielders should they sign Suzuki, including Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson. The signing would also change the dynamic of the Yankees lineup by adding a mostly contact/speed player to the mix instead of directly replacing Nick Swisher‘s power and run production profile. Yanks Go Yard staff writer Jimmy Kraft wrote about the Yankees shifting focus to a contact-first approach at the plate.
The Yankees would seemingly look for a right-handed power bat to fill some of a OF/DH role to compensate for the loss of Swisher’s run production. The Yankees have said and there is mutual interest in left-handed DH Raul Ibanez returning to the Bronx.
Yanks still waiting on Youkilis
There has been little movement on the Kevin Youkilis front. The Yankees still have a one-year offer on the table for Youkilis’ services. When the Cleveland Indians signed Mark Reynolds, it may have bumped up Youkilis’ chances of wearing pinstripes in 2013. However, the Indians, who reportedly offered Youkilis two-years and $18 million, claim the Reynolds signing does not preclude them from going after Youkilis and there are other teams in the mix, including of course the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to Youkilis’ uncle, the 33-year-old corner infielder loves New York:
“Even when he was with the Red Sox, he always said he would love to play here someday,” Edward Youkilis said. “He said it would be an experience like no other.”
Joe Bick, Youkilis’ agent says his client is “seriously considering” the “very legitimate” Yankees offer.
With Alex Rodriguez set to miss about half of the season, signing Youkilis to a one year deal makes sense. Even when Rodriguez returns, there is no telling how he will be able to handle the field so having Youkilis, while not a great fielder, is better than the other options available in a slim market. Youkilis could also DH and spell Mark Teixeira at first base.