With the MLB trade deadline a week away, transactions kicked off big, as the New York Yankees announced they had acquired Ichiro Suzuki and cash from the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. The Yankees will reportedly pay around $2.5 million of Ichiro's salary for the rest of the season.
Trading Places: Yankees Acquire Ichiro
Monday July 23rd, 2012
Suzuki, 38, is in the final year of a his five-year contract worth approximately $90 million. He was expected to make around $18 million in 2012. Although he's a .322/.366/.418 in his 12 year career, Suzuki has hit .268/.302/.342 since the start of the 2011 season. In 2012, he's hitting .261/.288/.353 with a four percent walk percentage.
Ichiro moves from the spacious Safeco Field to the offensive paradise that is Yankee Stadium, and could find that a change of scenery helps boost him offensively in the loaded Yankees lineup. However, with declining skills and a tough American League East division, he could find himself producing on the same level or less.
With Nick Swisher holding down the right field position (when healthy), the Yankees have used six different players in left field this season and those six have combined to hit .233/.299/.429 with a .728 OPS.
While Ichiro's offense has declined, he's still a terrific defender with a great arm. The acquisition likely means that Swisher will move over to left field full time and Ichiro will play right field for the rest of the season. Brett Gardner was slated as the everyday left fielder to start the season, but suffered an injury early in the season. Raul Ibanez has spent a majority of the time in left field, but will likely move to the DH role full time with a few occasional starts in left.
For the Mariners, the departure of Ichiro means that the M's outfield will now consist of Michael Saunders, Casper Wells, and Carlos Peguero.
D.J. Mitchell appeared in four games for the Yankees this season, posting a 3.86 ERA. At Triple-A this season, he was 6-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 15 games.
Danny Farquhar hasn't appeared at the big-level this season (was with Toronto in 2011) and has a 2-3 record with a 3.33 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A for Toronto, Oakland, and New York.
With Brett Gardner suffering another setback during rehab, the Yankees wanted to acquire another outfielder for their postseason push. Although Ichiro's numbers are lackluster this season, it's hard to fault the Yankees for acquiring a great defender for just over $2.5 million for the rest of the season and a pair of bullpen arms.
With Suzuki out of Seattle, the Mariners can finally look towards the future by playing some of their younger talent, as they are continually rebuilding for the future. Ichiro did a lot for Seattle during his career, but it was time for the soon-to-be free agent veteran to step aside and let other players showcase their talent.
From a fantasy standpoint, Ichiro receives a slight boost in value, but only with the hope that he can find a spark while hitting in the New York lineup. Raul Ibanez will likely be limited to DH duties, but will also split time with Andruw Jones (with Jones starting against lefties).
Casper Wells finally shredded the "platoon" tag earlier in the year as has been a staple in the Mariners lineup since early spring. The biggest boost for a Mariners player will likely be Carlos Peguero. Peguero, 25, is hitting just .238/.273/.476 in the big-leagues this season, but has put up big power numbers at the minor league level. He could be of interest to fantasy owners in AL-only leagues.
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