Ichiro Suzuki's two-year, $13 million deal with the Yankees became official Wednesday. (Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Yankees News and Rumors: Ichiro official, Ibanez next?

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The New York Yankees officially signed outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to a two-year, $13 million deal Wednesday. The two sides had come to an agreement last week and the terms reported at that time seem to have held true.

As we mentioned at the outset of the agreement, the Yankees now have three outfielders who hit left-handed — Suzuki, Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees have indicated they would like to find a right-handed hitting outfielder who could provide some power as a complement to the lefty-heavy situation.

Suzuki’s signing also gives the Yankees another player who uses his speed and the ability to spray base hits versus a power corner outfielder. Ichiro will likely play right field and it remains to be seen if the Yankees will flip Granderson to left and Gardner to center. That outfield arrangement would be very formidable for the Yankees.

For more on Suzuki’s contract see my original analysis here. For additional speculation on the need for a right-handed outfielder and the Yankees options go here.

Ibanez on deck?

Raul Ibanez enjoyed one of the more spectacular postseason runs in recent memory. It actually started in September as Ibanez seemingly got the big hit whenever it was needed and he was at the plate down the stretch. According to New York Post reporter George King, the Yankees are still very much involved in trying to re-sign the 40-year-old outfielder.

His clutch performances carried into the playoffs when he famously pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez in Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles and homered to tie the game. He later hit the game-winning home run for the Bombers in the 12th inning. Ibanez also hit a big game-tying home run in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series as part of a four-run ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers.

Ibanez hit 19 home runs during the 2012 regular season, driving in 62 with a slash line of .240/.308/.453. He’d be exclusively used a lefty DH should he be re-signed. He hit .248/.319/.492 with all 19 homers coming against right-handed pitching.

Notes:
  • Josh Spence cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. He had been designated for assignment to make room for the Kevin Youkilis signing.
  • Jim Miller, who was claimed off waivers from the Oakland A’s earlier this offseason was designated for assignment to make room for Suzuki on the 40-man roster.

 

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