The New York Yankees looked Thursday night like they would sign outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to a two-year deal worth around $13 million, according to CBS' Jon Heyman.
While the comings and goings of the Yankees aren't things typically concern Phillies fans, this move is rather important, especially considering that the Ichiro reportedly turned down a two-year offer with the Phillies that was possibly worth $14 million. That news came via ESPN's Buster Olney, who also reported that Ichiro turned down a similar deal from the San Francisco Giants.
That news came as a bit of a shock, despite the rumblings from a week or so ago that the Phillies might have interest in the 39-year-old veteran. At the time, there didn't seem to be much to it, considering that Ichiro is not a great fit for the club (more on that in a moment), and that it seemed like just another one of those rumors leaked by agents or misinformed sources.
Let's assume it was a real offer, then the Phillies should consider themselves lucky that the future Hall of Famer is likely staying with the Yankees. It's not that I don't like Ichiro, but unless the Phillies were getting the player that had a .332/.377/.426 line from 2004-2010, I think I'll pass. In 162 games between the Seattle Mariners and Yankees in 2012, he hit .283, with an on-base percentage of .307 to go along with nine homers. To boot, he's a left-handed hitter pushing towards 40 so he doesn't exactly fit into the “we need to get younger” organizational philosophy or the team's need for right-handed batters.
And with the likes of Nick Swisher and Cody Ross still on the market, this move makes even less sense. Unless, of course, you consider one of Matt Gelb's theories, in that the Phillies wouldn't lose their first-round draft pick if they signed Ichiro -- something that would have happened if they signed Josh Hamilton or the aforementioned Swisher.
If this move would have happened, there would almost have to be a corresponding move to follow. With Ichiro in the lineup, the team would have four left-handed hitters (five if you count Dom Brown) and almost no power from the right side. And with the recent news that the Phillies were talking to the Chicago Cubs about swapping Brown for Alfonso Soriano, you would have to now wonder if that would have hinged upon Ichiro manning right field in 2013.
Needless to say, it would have been one of the more head scratch-worthy moves in an off-season that has been, for a lack of a better word, a challenge. Thankfully, Ichiro looks destined to remain in the Bronx, which will allow Ruben Amaro to actually add some power and value to a lineup that desperately needs it.