Early Wednesday morning the word was that the New York Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki were very close to finishing up a deal, but the complete language of the agreement was not completed according to tweets from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. WFAN On air personality Craig Carton first reported the deal as done via Twitter.
As more information was gathered and the day progressed if became apparent that the Yankees and Ichiro’s agent Tony Attanasio were working out the framework for one of three types of deals — a simple one-year contract, a one-year deal with vesting performance options and a simple two-year deal according to Heyman.
NY Post reporter Joel Sherman tweeted that the Philadelphia Phillies were in the mix and could be the reason that the Yankees may have to move to a two-year deal. Sherman suggests the deal could be worth $12-14 million if two years. Suzuki had told the Yankees that he would accept a one-year deal early in the offseason and it has been noted that he prefers to be on the Yankees.
This would be an interesting stray from the way the Yankees have performed business with free agents to this point in the offseason. One-year contracts have been the norm and if the player was not amiable to it then the Yankees would be on their way. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did say that the Yankees made a multiyear offer to Jeff Keppinger, but he eschewed it to take a more stable role with the Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees would be investing a second year on a player who will turn 40 in 2014. A two-year deal would indicate that the Yankees are not bullish on any of their young players being able to come up in 2014 to take on a full-time role in the Bronx and Ichiro would make an affordable transition until one or two of their up and coming outfielders such as Mason Williams and Tyler Austin, are ready for the Majors.
The deal for Ichiro is said to be close enough that it could be settled Thursday according to The Star Ledger reporter Jeff Bradley.
Yankees will need right-handed hitting outfielder
Once this deal goes down, the Yankees will be in need of a right-handed bat for the outfield and preferably one with some pop. Scott Hairston has been on the Yankees radar for quite some time.
The Yankees have competition for their crosstown rivals, the New York Mets, for whom Hairston hit 20 homers in 398 plate appearances in 2012 while recording an overall slash line of .263/.299/.504. He mashed lefties to the tune of .286/.317/.550 in 199 plate appearances.
Hairston is said to be looking for at least a two-year deal according to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. Cody Ross is still available, but he too would want a multiyear deal (three-years, $25 million range) after a successful season with the Boston Red Sox where he hit 22 home runs and had a slash line of .267/.326/.481 in 528 plate appearances.