Yankees give Ichiro two years

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have a deal finished with Ichiro Suzuki, a deal that will pay Ichiro $13 million over two years. On the one hand, it’s nice that the Yankees have a right fielder and now pretty much just have to focus on finding a DH and some bench players, but on the other hand I honestly can’t say that I like the contract or can really see the upside in guaranteeing Ichiro two years.

On it’s own terms, the deal is kind of a mixed bag. I’m certainly not a big fan of giving two guaranteed years to a 38 year old no-power corner outfielder who was pretty bad at the plate for most of the last two seasons, even if he did return to his career norm after August 1st. But on this market it would seem to be a fair price, and reports are that Philadelphia and San Francisco both had richer two year offers in front of Ichiro, so this isn’t some sort of aggressive overpayment by the Yankees.

My biggest problem with the contract, however, is how it compares to the non-interest in Russell Martin. You’ll notice that Ichiro’s contract is only slightly smaller than the one the Yankees wouldn’t match for Martin, even though the Yankees need a starting catcher and Martin is probably about as valuable as Ichiro, and certainly younger. But given the going rate for outfielders on the free agent market and the fact that the Yankees don’t have enough viable bodies in their farm system right now to reasonably expect to add two of them before 2014, this move probably does help them get under the $189 million threshold before next season, especially if they’re willing to run Francisco Cervelli/Austin Romine out behind the plate.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe Randy Levine is about due to tell us that the austerity budget is about making the Yankees “smarter” and “more efficient.”

About Brien Jackson

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.

19 thoughts on “Yankees give Ichiro two years

  1. How in the heck is 2 years @ 6.5 mil a bad deal for ichiro? You have to be kidding me!! if you think thats a bad deal you don't have much common sense.You need to get over the fact the yankees aren't spending like fools to give you something to be happy about!! this makes plenty of sense for soooo many reasons.If you dont believe it ask the world champs and the phill's why it does.I would say the Giants are pretty good at seeing talent!! Not only that there could be more moves coming.So why don't you just sit back and let the pro's with all there rings do ther jobs!!

    • Because when I think of franchises who are good at valuing veteran talent and never wind up regretting how much money they threw at someone over 30, the Phillies and Giants are totally the first two teams that come to mind.

  2. OMG. I don't know who's making these decisions, but whoever it is should be fired. Now.
    And I guess the Yankees will now look for a RH OF to platoon with Ichiro (or Gardner and Granderson as well), so I wonder if they in fact will pay the same or very close to what Swisher would have cost, altough obviously for less time. Hope the Yankees can get a decent RH bat… but, oh boy, no Martin yes Ichiro for TWO years? that takes some stupidity. But I wouldn't bother if in this case I'm completely wrong and Ichiro performs close to his career (haha sure).

      • Well, no probably it won't. But taking into account defense as well, Martin was a decent catcher, and clearly superior to the options the Yankees have now. On the other side, Ichiro won't repeat his last year performance in 2013, and even with his defense, he won't be much more valuable in RF than Martin at C. Moreover, I think he will be less valuable and let's not even talk about 2014. Also consider the catchers in the FA market and the outfielders. There were more decent OF options than decent catching options, and, ultimately, is Ichiro really much more valuable than Nate Schierholtz these days, considering he will have to be platooned anyway?

  3. if the front office was able to process more than one contract at a time, ichiro would have been done for 1 year at $5-6M, and martin would have been done at 2 years $14-15M if this was handled 3 or 4 weeks ago…2 very good deals that we totally botched up…like having ichiro back, but the martin thing is a real stinger…unless one of the kids in the system is a lot better and further along than the reports are suggesting

  4. I still think the Yanks are going to sign AJ to a 2 year deal. Not as good on D but more consistent at the plate than Martin. I know people loved Martin on D but I think the Yanks didn't want to give him more than a year or 2 and he wanted 3. The Yanks have Sanchez and Romine waiting to come up and signing a weak hitting catcher for 3 years does not allow Romine to see some action this year and possibly start in 2014.

  5. I don't have any problem with the Ichiro deal. He wasn't going to sign for one year. There were others that would have given him the same contract for more money. Given the weak FA market, who was out there that was better, other than Hamilton(who they weren't going to sign) they could have gotten anyway?

  6. Ichiro wants a ring badly and this is probably his last best shot to get one. He's in exceptional condition and should provide considerable bang for the buck. Yes the Yankees need a starting catcher, but the available free agent option(s) isn't all that palatable. You have to believe that there's a trade coming, just a question of when and with whom. The idea that "Austin Romine is our starting catcher" ranks with "Bubba Crosby is our center fielder" and "Nick Swisher is our first baseman" from recent years.

  7. Actually, when I think of teams that are good at identifying and generating great value off of aging players, the Yankees are right at the top of the list. Last season, Ichiro generated approximately 2.5 fWAR, which equates to nearly $13M in value for a single year. They just signed him to that much money for two years.

  8. Yes, I know – you LOVE Martin. All I can say is, we have all next season (and the one after) to see if his last 3 weeks were the "real" Martin, or the one who couldn't break .150 for the rest of the season.

    I'm STILL not sad to see him go – and I'll move on as soon as anyone else does.

    Ichiro – would have much rather have a one year contract, but I'd rather have him for 2 than none. If we're not getting rid of Cano to pickup Hamilton, then Ichiro makes enough sense for me.

    If I'm still breathing, I'll be here at the end of next season – by then we'll have a far better idea of which marginal player (Martin or Ichiro) played out better. I'm betting on the healthy old guy.

  9. As I mentioned to the Ichiro post from yesterday, having Ichiro on the team as a 41-year old player with diminished capacity from 10 years ago is probably a greater fan draw than any other player on the team not named Jeter. The Yankees will be on Japanese TV NHK everyday because of Ichiro and Kuroda – I know because I just came back to the U.S. after living over there for 22 years, and all they ever showed was Seattle regardless of how bad Seattle was. The only time the Yankees got any decent TV air time over there was when Matsui was on the team. Ichiro will be exciting to watch. He will break 3,000 hits and he will do it in a Yankee uniform. The only thing Martin is going to break is a sweat while swinging and missing at strike three!

  10. Thinking the Martin non-offer was more of an issue with CC, his mouth to Umps and his low BA.

    Detroit and the LA teams are spending like drunk sailors…NYY still have RF & C needs (big time) but have a solid rotation and pen whereas the LAAoACA have a six-pack of OFers and DH with little pitching. This game changes quite quickly, doesn't it?

  11. What are the chances of this putting a new OF spin on Ichiro in RF, Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF? That seems like it would be a hugely defensively good OF, though the "defense only" plan the Red Sox tried was… terrible?

  12. the nyy are being run by non baseball execs, execs but not with baseball backgrounds or experience, that is a formula for disaster and we are seeing that now, ergo signing arod after opting out.

  13. I think this deal virtually assures that Granderson will not be in Pinstripes for the 2014 and maybe not even when this season starts. Simply put if the Yankees intend to get under the 2014 Luxury Tax Threshold they can NOT re-sign both Granderson and Cano.

    • Heard the same thing but I don't see how they do it $ wise. Bourn will command 3-4 years. Yanks can't spend on him and re-sign Cano AND stay under 189 for 2014. As it is, after Granderson walks, the Yanks will need a stop-gap outfielder for one year or to work a trade for an outfielder with low salary to play left (I have to believe they are putting Gardner in center and moving Grandy to left–it is not even a question on defense who is better). Not to mention an outfield of Bourn, Ichiro and Gardner is all speed and no power. Not moving Gardner as he is cheap right now.