Report: Ichiro is impatient

So the news late yesterday and continuing into today, on the eve of the Winter Meetings is that Ichiro Suzuki is apparently growing impatient with the New York Yankees.

“At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero,’’ agent Tony Attanasio said of discussions with the Yankees. “As far as we are concerned we don’t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it.’

Didn’t he just say he was willing to wait for the Yankees to get all of their pitching signings done? I wasn’t imagining this, right? It did happen and it happened in the not-so-distant past. So why all the urgency now?

The bad thing for the Yankees is that the free agent outfielders who are available have a lot of red flags attached to them in different ways. In the case of some like Michael Bourn, they’re too expensive or in the case of Shane Victorinothey want to be signed for too many years. Then you have someone like Josh Hamilton who is just a giant red flag personified with his off the field issues.

Another checkmark in the ‘con’ column that the Yankees have on their pros and cons whiteboard (stay with me here) is that if Ichiro is signed, the team will have two players in the outfield who aren’t known for their power numbers. Sure, the speed on the bases would be a good thing with both Brett Gardner and Ichiro but the Yankees have just lost Russell Martin to the Pirates and will be losing Nick Swisher to a now unknown team. They need to replace their power in the lineup somehow. And with Derek Jeter coming back from a major injury, Alex Rodriguez growing older by the minute and Mark Teixeira declining offensively faster than anyone anticipated, the Yankees could be in big trouble.

Then again, maybe not. People have been declaring the Yankees “too old” for years now and they still continue to win 90+ games a season and make the playoffs.

There has also been talk that someone like Scott Hairston could be acquired by the Yankees as well. Some people think that maybe he could platoon with Ichiro. If that happens, the Yankees will have a lot of positions being shared by players. And money-wise  Hairston could make sense, he only made $1.1M last season with the Mets.

So what do you think the Yankees should do? Should they say, “Nice knowing ya!” to Ichiro or should they give him another shot?

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money and co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast.

16 thoughts on “Report: Ichiro is impatient

  1. uyf1950

    I think all of this recent talk is posturing by Ichiro's agent. I think the Yankees should make a good faith effort to re-sign Ichiro in the next few days and if the Yankees find the atmosphere not to their liking they should move on. There are other options the Yankees can explore for their outfield needs on a short term basis.

  2. Steve

    I'm really getting tired of hearing about the need to replace Swisher's (and I guess Martin's) power. I understand your corner outfielders are typically power hitters and Gardner and to a lesser extent Ichiro aren't known for their power but at the same time middle infielders typically aren't great hitters yet Jeter is one of the all time hits leaders and Cano has one of the best bats in the game. The way I see it the Yanks would benefit tremendously from a few more contact/speed guys in the lineup. I'd gladly trade some of the homers, strikeouts, and GIDPs from last season for more infield singles, steals, and things like going first to third on a single and actually having a chance to score when Robbie Thompson inevitably makes more horrible decisions. Not to mention how great defensively an outfield of Gardner Grandy and Ichiro would be.

    • Joe

      I agree. Ichiro helps to bring some much needed balance to this lineup that lives and dies by solo home runs

  3. Bill

    Said this earlier. Swisher hit 24 homers for the Yanks last year. Ichiro in Yankee Stadium probably pops anywhere from 12-16 bombs at home. Figure 6-8 homers on the road and he hits somewhere around 20 overall. Add in a .300-ish bat, solid defense, speed and a strong, accurate arm and you will probably be saying, "Nick who?" by May. Sign him. Now. Bat him second and leave him there. Bring in Hairston and see if you can find a buyer for Granderson, installing Ibanez and Hairston in a LF platoon. Remember that this all starts with pitching

    • uyf1950

      I think you maybe a bit overly optimistic on how many HR's Ichiro would hit in 2013. He hit 5 HR's in 67 games with the Yankees. That's 41% of the MLB season That would translate to about 13 HR's over the course of a 162 game schedule. But regardless of how many HR's Ichiro can and does hit I like him in the line up for the Yankees. But there are still other options for the Yankees if the talks go "south".

      • Steve

        Unless I'm mistaken all five of his homers with the Yanks were in games at Yankee stadium (about half of those 67 games), so by my math at that pace he would be pretty much right on Bill's prediction of 12-16 round-trippers at home. But yes with or without the power I think he's a huge asset to the lineup.

        • uyf1950

          That's true, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still 5 HR's over 67 games.

      • BrienJackson

        Yeah, this is seriously overestimating the ballpark effect on home runs in a single season.

    • mcmastro

      Do you really want a platoon of Ibanez and Hariston. I firmly believe Granderson could net the Yankees a decent package, either a catcher or a young promising outfielder. I think if he stays, the Yankees have the speediest outfield in the majors, and if not, they got 2 guys who will steal 30 bases, along with possibly someone a bit more serviceable than Ibanez/Hariston.

    • Urban

      Ichiro hit three HRs on the road this year. In 2011, he hit one HR on the road. So basically in nearly 700 PAs, he's hit four HRs on the road over the past two years. He is not a power hitter. He slaps the ball down on the ground, or hits line drives over the infielders. Like many hitter he'll have a nice streak where his HRs will be clumped together. He had two, two HR games this year, one with the Mariners and one with the Yankees. He hit three of his four HRs with the Mariners within day of each other. Don't get too carried away with such sample sizes that only includes 67 games for the Yankees. He has been a poor hitter for two years, one who gets on base at below league average now. He is 39 and his great years are gone. He had a nice three-week hot streak with the Yankees in September, that began nearly two months after joining the team. That's basically it, but his Yankee numbers look inflated because he only played 67 games. He's probably a .280/.310/.390 hitter now. I say let him walk, which is one of the few times you'll ever hear the word walk associated with Ichiro.

  4. Bill

    and their pitching should be just fine.

  5. mcmastro

    Does anybody else feel like the order would be much stronger if Ichiro led off and Gardner hit behind him. I know that would mean Jeter would be relegated to the 6 hole, so it won't happen, but those two in front of Tex, A-Rod, and Cano would score A LOT of runs. Just reminds me of that 2003 Marlins team that ran all over the Yankees. Just a pipe dream though.

    • Another option is to slot Jeter in at #3, as in: Ichiro, Gardner, Jeter, Cano, ARod, Tex, Grandy, DH, catcher. Too bad about the lefty/lefty at the top of the lineup, though – that dooms it in Girardi's eyes.

      Otherwise, I do like the idea of replacing Swisher with Ichiro for this season, if the organization is dead set against re-signing Swisher.

  6. Rob

    I think Ichiro needs the Yankees a lot more than the Yankees need Ichiro.That being said I would love to see Ichiro back for the 2013 run.

    • mcmastro

      If by that, you mean winning a world series, maybe. But financially, no way. I'm sure the Giants wouldn't mind having him on their team.

  7. michael

    The redflag of continually injured is much more significant than off the field issues. He's had one full season (>150 games) in his career, in 2008. The only other time he didn't miss a significant part of the year on the DL was this year, playing 148 games. And he's 32 next May. This is a real red flag, rather than the zero games he's missed since resolving his off field issues.

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