So, what does the Ichiro trade mean?

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

25 thoughts on “So, what does the Ichiro trade mean?

  1. KC Tampa

    What do you guys think would the best lineup with ichiro now wearing pinstripes??? this is the one i'd like to see, but im almost sure it wont happen.

    1-LF Ichiro

    2-SS Jeets

    3- 2B Cano

    4-3b Arod

    5-CF-Grandy

    6-1B Tex

    7-RF swish

    8-DH Jones/Ibanez/Chavez

    9-C Martin/stewart

    Not bad!!!!

    • mike_nicoletti

      if Girardi ever hits Ichiro leadoff, his binder is broken.

  2. John

    I'll tell you what it means. It means Cashman is a freaking GM Ninja. I don't know how he keeps these things under wraps. First the Grandy trade, then Pineda, now Ichiro. And lets not forget the Tex signing. Doubly impressive is his ability to do it in NY.

    As far as the actual trade. Time will tell. If a playoff run rejuvinates Ichiro, it could be the biggest trade coup in a while.

  3. Jacques

    " and I don’t think Ichiro accepted a trade in order to be reduced to role player status."

    The cruel part is that now we have him, Girardi has the freedom to use Ichiro as a bench player from time to time.

    Why don't the yankees use Jones/Ichiro against lefties and Ibanez/Chavez against righties(with Ichiro playing time to time)? Ichiro's numbers against the lefties are not that much worse from the last four years..

  4. Bunk Moreland

    Well, putting a guy with a .288 OBP at the top of the order probably isn't the best place to start.

  5. KC Tampa

    I think Ichiro will be better at the top of the order.I dont think he'll have a 288 obp with NY.

  6. LarryAtIIATMS

    Brien, Ichiro may not have sought to be a role player, but that's what he is with the Yankees, and he must know that. There is no full-time position for Ichiro on the Yankees, assuming that the current roster stays healthy and produces at current levels, and assuming that Swisher is not seriously injured. Andruw Jones is going to start against lefties, and Ibanez and A-Rod will get most of the ABs at DH. Ichiro will platoon with Jones in LF, and will see additional time as a defensive replacement and even (amazing as it may seem, given that Ichiro is a first ballot HOFer) pinch runner.

    Come 2013, Ichiro retires, or is playing somewhere else. Once Gardner is healthy, there's no room on the Yankees for Ichiro.

    Look. Like every Yankee fan, I'm hoping that the team catches lightning in a bottle, and that Ichiro plays like he did 4 years ago. It could happen, which is why Ichiro is worth a 3-month rental. But Ichiro doesn't have to be vintage Ichrio to help the Yankees. He'll help the Yankees just by being an upgrade over Dewayne Wise.

    • It’s possible, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility that Girardi plans to use Ichiro as the everyday left fielder until I see otherwise.

    • Mike

      I think you're right on here, Larry. Ichiro has been near league average offensively away from Safeco this year (and very terrible in Safeco) and avg against righties (and terrible against lefties). I wouldn't ask for more than that from the 39 year old, because have a look at these defensive #s among the 117 OF with at least 250 innings in 2012:

      PLAYER / UZR / UZR/150
      Ichiro: 15.6 (1st) / 25.9 (5th)
      Jones: 3.8 (28th) / 22.9 (6th)
      Ibanez: -1.1 (70th) / -3.7 (75th)
      Granderson: -16.8 (2nd worst) / -29.1 (3rd worst)
      Swisher: 0.9 (51st) / 1.6 (54th)

      If you're curious, the breakdown of Ichiro's UZR: 10th in ARM at 3.7 (outfield arm runs), 2nd in RngR at 10.8 (range runs), and 6th in ErrR at 1.1 (error runs).

      To compare to the other OF the Yanx were connected with in trade rumors, Shane Victorino sports a 2.8 UZR (34th) and 5.3 UZR/150 (40th).

      • Jacques

        Ichiro is not terrible against the lefties. If you look at his stats besides this season, it is fairly far off. (in fact his career batting avg is higher vs. lefties)

        • Mike

          Fair point. He doesn't have splits for his career really (112 wRC+ vs L; 106 wRC+ vs R … 114 home, 11 away). But it is still a precipitous decline starting last year. One might suspect age has caught up to his swing, as his pitch values on fastballs of all sorts have taken a sharp decline in the negative this year (which started to become negative last year).

  7. h.sevush

    why assume Ichiro is replacing Chavez in the lineup, why not put Ibanez on the bench and platoon Chavez and Jones at the DH, at least until Chavez cools off?

    • Because if Ibanez isn’t functioning as the left handed half of a DH platoon now, there’s no reason to have him on the roster at all. What’s he going to be, a defensive replacement in the outfield?

      • h.sevush

        Ibanez will provide depth at OF and 1B, and a left handed PH. Why, are you worried about wasting his sub 300 OBP when you don't seem to mind wasting Chavez. Someone has to be the last man on the bench and right now it looks like Ibanez fits that role best. If / when Chavez either cools off or gets hurt the Yanks will be glad that old turtle head is ready and waiting.

        • That seems overly optimistic about the versatility Ibanez brings. Maybe I’m wrong, but right now I’d bet that the plan is for Ichiro to be the everyday outfielder and for Ibanez/Jones to platoon at DH with Chavez a bench player and occasional spell for A-Rod at third.

      • chad

        when facing right-handers you can:

        A. Split DH role between Ibanez and Chavez, with OF of Granderson, Swisher & Ichiro.

        B. Give Swisher a day off by placing Ichiro in RF, Ibanez in LF, and Chavez at DH.

        C. Give Granderson a day of in the same manner.

        D. Give Arod day off with Chavez at 3B, Ibanez DH.

        E. Give Teixeira day off with Chavez at 1B, Ibanez DH.

        Point being, there are lots of ways to find AB's for both Ibanez and Chavez. Ideally, you really only want either of those guys to play 3-4 games a week, and with all of those options you can do so.

    • chad

      Exactly.

      Ibanez has hit poorly the past 2 months and his defense has been bad all year. Take away some of his DH ABs and give them to Chavez. Combined with a weekly game or two at 3B, you'll still get Chavez the desired 3 or 4 games per week. It will also give the over-used Ibanez a chance to be fresh for the playoffs.

  8. Marc

    Ichiro will pursue 3000 hits, so that means 3 more seasons for him if healthy. IF, and a big IF, he performs well the remainder of the season, why couldn't the Yanks keep him? If Swish is gone b/c of big FA money, which he will be, and if watching funds for 2014 $189M level, then why couldn't he replace Swish in RF next year on the cheap? He won't be an $18M poer anymore. More likely the latest trend of older guysd taking $4-$5M. Either a 1 year deal or 3 years/$15M-$18M works in the Yanks budget and we know how the team loves chasing milestones. Arod will get 3000 next year, and while not close to Jeter's march to 3000, Yankee fans, 3-4 years in, will certainly embrace Ichiro's quest.

    • roadrider

      IF, he performs well the remainder of the season, why couldn't the Yanks keep him?

      This would be a HUGE mistake even if he does do "well" as a two-month rental. Base on his two-year trend and current season stats it would be foolish to buy into him for anything more than a NRI on a minor-league deal.

      while not close to Jeter's march to 3000, Yankee fans, 3-4 years in, will certainly embrace Ichiro's quest.

      Well, I won't and it would be a mistake to buy into his 3000-hit chase as a reason for bringing him back although I can imagine dopes like Levine would fall for this. Jeter is a career Yankee. Suzuki is an interloper who can take his chase of personal records some other territory where they need artificial boosts to ticket sales.

  9. Marc

    continued… Yes, I know it means 2 corner OF-ers with no power, but we already lead the league in HRs anyway. Having Jeter, Ichiro and Gardner in the regular lineup for speed and average and great OF defense (Gardner, Grandy and Ichiro are all gold glove-worthy), with power coming from Grandy, Cano, Tex, Arod and the DH split, tell me why this couldn't work? Again, this is all assuming a resurgence from Ichiro. If he bats .260 for us, then he's nothing more than a $2M per 4th OF. But I don't think he will bust in NY.

  10. David

    Defensively, Ichiro is now the best OFer on the Yankees, right? He's also the best stealer on the Yankees now, right? There are OBP concerns from his time in SEA this year, but bat him 9th, provide a lefty in front of Jeter — if Ichiro gets on base he can be hugely disruptive in front of Jeter who is 2nd in the AL in IF hits, thus putting 2 guys on in front of Granderson… now, this isn't discounting the OBP issues (the "Big If"), but if the change of scenery works, this has to be considered a huge win, right?

  11. Art Vandelay

    I just don't really see the point. a) He can barely hit anymore. b) He can't play CF, can he? Wise seemed to be the only guy on the roster that could at least fake CF if Grandy were to get injured or need a day off. Maybe they think Ichiro can play a passable CF? I just don't ever remember him playing there. Given that he can't hit better than Ibanez or Jones (or Russell Branyan, who last I checked was still mashing in AAA), his main value is as a defensive and speed upgrade. If that's the type of player they wanted, is there not anyone else out there who can actually play CF as well?

    • As sad as it seems, Nix is probably your backup centerfielder.

  12. Art Vandelay

    Pretty sad. Doesn't look like he's ever played CF. Let's hope Girardi thinks to pull Grandy from games in a blowout when they can. Not sure if that will make a difference, but it would be nice for him to be able to get a little time off every once in a while. Hopefully Grandy doesn't get hurt. That would be truly crushing.

    • roadrider

      I saw him play CF at YS II in 2008. Not only was he truly terrible (2 balls hit over his head) but he acted disinterested and I later read that he had basically decided he didn't like playing CF. Real team guy (he said sarcastically) but then again, he was the guy who bunted for a hit with a runner in scoring position when he was chasing the season hit record.

      I don't know why everyone is gushing over this guy. I'd rather not have him on the Yankees and I do agree with Brien that he will not be used in an optimum way based on the same delusions about his current abilities as I've seen in many of the comments. The reality is that only 14 guys in all of MLB have a lower wOBA than Suzuki and only 17 have a lower wRC+. He'd have to steal as many bases as Rickey Henderson did in a season and make enough sterling OF plays as Willie Mays did in a typical season in the space of two months to make up for that. Oh, I forgot – he doesn't really get on base anymore so how many bases can he realistically steal?

      As for the theory that he will be somehow rejuvenated by playing for the Yankees? What – he was laying down on the M's because they suck? Like I said (sarcastically) – a real "team" guy.

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