Hot off the wires, here's Pinstripe Alley's Steven Goldman talking to Amy K. Nelson about Monday's blockbuster trade:
I can't argue with a single thing that Steve says here. Ichiro was a great player when he batted .350, a really good player when he batted .300, and just sort of around when he's batting .270, as he has since the beginning of 2011.
Change in scenery? Hey, you never know. But one can't count on a change of scenery helping a player, and particularly a player Ichiro's age who's actually been somewhat famous for his consistency, if not in performance then certainly when it comes to preparation and work habits. Are we really supposed to believe that Ichiro stopped hitting with the Mariners because he just wasn't enjoying himself any more?
That's possible, but there's no reason to believe it. Or to expect him to become a premier hitter again.
It’s a good deal, maybe even a great one. We’ll see.
Yes, we'll see.
What we'll probably see is a fourth outfielder with fifth-outfielder statistics. It's been said before but it's worth saying again: Since Opening Day of 2011, Ichiro Suzuki's got a .268/.302/.342 batting line. He's become a pure singles hitter who doesn't draw walks and doesn't actually hit all that many singles. He does still run the bases with élan, and he's still solid enough in the outfield.
But Klapisch goes way overboard when he writes this:
Ichiro essentially becomes Gardner for the final two months of the season, during which time the Yankees hope he’ll bolster his offensive production.
That's Brett Gardner, who's out for the rest of the season with an injury. The same Brett Gardner who's got a .355 career on-base percentage and ranked among the best defensive outfielders on earth.
Ichiro Suzuki isn't Brett Gardner. What Ichiro Suzuki might be is a decent platoon player and defensive replacement. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's not like the Yankees gave up much to get him. But it's only a great deal if Ichiro actually makes a difference for the Yankees in October, since they've already locked up another division title.
Ichiro Suzuki's first at-bat as a Yankee — he started in right field, wore Dave Winfield's old No. 31, and hit eighth — came against the Mariners. And his first hit came in it.
Ichiro, traded to the Yankees for minor leaguers earlier in the day, took a Kevin Millwood pitch back up the middle for a single to center in the top of the third for New York's second hit of the night. He immediately stole second base and moved over to third on a groundout by Russell Martin, but he perished on third thanks to another groundout by Derek Jeter.
Ichiro came back up in the top of the fourth, after the Yankees broke through for three runs, but popped up to second with two men on and one out.
Still, he was hitting .500 against the Mariners after his first two at-bats, which is a pretty good mark for a guy who had never faced them before!
Farquhar doesn't have quite the same prospect pedigree, as he wasn't included in the Prospect Handbook, but he does rank a solid 70 on the 20-to-80 interesting-transaction scale. He was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2008, traded to the A's for Rajai Davis, traded back to the Blue Jays for David Purcey, selected off waivers by the A's when the Blue Jays removed him from their 40-man roster in June, and then picked up off waivers by the Yankees just under a month ago.
The only thing I know about Danny Farquhar is that he prefers to go month-to-month with his apartments. His career stats:
Ichiro will hit ninth in the Yankees lineup, filling the spot in right field opened by Brett Gardner's season-ending injury. It's wasn't especially likely that he was going to lead off in pinstripes, given that the Yankees also employ Curtis Granderson, but wouldn't Ichiro being the first man up in a game at Safeco Field after leading off for the Mariners for so many years be something? It sure would.
Ichiro’s agent, Tony Attanasio: ““He knows that the club has to grow. He knows that the younger players need more playing time…”
The Mariners do need to rebuild, as they have not made the postseason since Ichiro’s rookie year of 2001, and have had just two winning seasons since 2003. This deal alone won’t accomplish that, but it shows the Mariners are beginning that process.