My guess is that, if the Yankees had their druthers, Ichiro Suzuki would be their starting right fielder when Openin Day rolls around this spring. According to Joel Sherman, that would be just fine with Ichiro himself. Sherman reports that someone close to Ichiro told him that the Japanese superstar loved his time in New York, particularly “playing in a professional, winning atmosphere.” He also expresses doubt that money would be an impediment to a deal if the Yankees want him back, noting that Ichiro deferred money on his last contract to make staying in Seattle possible.
On the other hand, Sherman also noted that the Giants are likely to have a lot of interest in acquiring Ichiro, and that they tried very hard to trade for him back in July. He also expresses skepticism that the Yankees would really have both Ichiro and Brett Gardner starting in the outfield, as they’re still a team built around power. My guess is that, thanks to the difficulties of complying with ownership’s austerity dictates, that won’t really be an issue now. After all, if the Yankees were that hungry for power, they wouldn’t essentially be letting Nick Swisher just walk away, would they? The free agent is market is also pretty thin on power hitting lefties, so unless the Yankees can swing a trade for Justin Upton, I’m pretty sure they’ll be just fine giving Ichiro another shot after the way he played in pinstripes this year.