Ichiro Suzuki Rumors
After 95 regular season wins and two postseason series, the Yankees' year has ended. The Tigers swept the ALCS in four games, which means it's now time for the Bronx Bombers to look ahead to the 2012-13 offseason. Here's the latest...
- Yankees management wants to step away from the disappointment of the 2012 ALCS before finalizing offseason plans, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Yankees will continue relying on power hitters, even after a team-wide slump against the Tigers. “I’m not going to turn myself into the Bronx Bunters because all of a sudden we didn’t hit for this week in October,” GM Brian Cashman said.
- Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte hopes to decide within a few weeks whether he'll return for another season of baseball in 2013, Jeff Bradley and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger report. “I still have the desire to compete, but there are family things. I just have to try and figure that out,” Pettitte said.
- Nick Swisher would "absolutely" like to re-sign with the Yankees and described his tenure in New York as "awesome," Bradley and McCullough report.
- Ichiro Suzuki said he hopes to be needed and wanted but declined to get into specifics, Bradley and McCullough report.
- Bradley also outlines an offseason to-do list for the Yankees. The possibility of a trade sending Alex Rodriguez to Miami might be tempting for the New York front office.
- Curtis Granderson said he expects to return in 2013, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Unless the Yankees trade the center fielder he'll still be wearing pinstripes when the season opens.
- Cashman said he isn't worried about the age of his team, Hoch reports. "I don't care if it's old; I care if it's good," Cashman said.
As the Orioles host the Blue Jays and the Rays play at Fenway Park, here's the latest from the AL East...
- It seems as if B.J. Upton is entering his final days with the Rays, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- It shouldn't be seen as a foregone conclusion that the Blue Jays will part ways with Yunel Escobar, opines MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm in a series of tweets. The Jays aren't in the habit of selling low on players, plus Chisholm argues that Escobar is still an asset given his team-friendly contract and the Jays' need for a second baseman.
- Also from Chisholm, the Jays were never "actively" looking to deal Escobar before the trade deadline and trade rumors about the shortstop were "drastically overblown."
- The Escobar controversy and the Blue Jays' poor record may hurt John Farrell's standing as the perceived favorite to become the next Red Sox manager, an unnamed baseball executive tells ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. The executive also suggests that Boston should hire a new manager quickly and make it clear that he is the consensus choice, as opposed to the feeling last winter that team ownership hired Bobby Valentine over GM Ben Cherington's objections.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe makes a few predictions and thoughts about what the Red Sox need to do this offseason. Abraham guesses Farrell, Tim Bogar or Torey Lovullo will manage the Sox next year, David Ortiz and Cody Ross will re-sign and the Sox will hire a "director of pitching" to oversee pitchers throughout the organization.
- Ichiro Suzuki's recent performance has spurred the Yankees and changed the conversation about his playing future, says Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Two weeks ago, the big talk about Ichiro was that his most likely destination next season was Japan. Now, you hear talk that the San Francisco Giants could represent a likely landing spot," writes Baker. Though the Giants have a history of signing veteran free agents and their outfield will be in flux this winter, I'm not sure they're a good fit for Ichiro given his age and demands for playing time.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith compiled another set of AL East notes earlier today.
On this date in 1998, Cal Ripken Jr. took himself out of the Orioles' starting lineup and ended his consecutive games played streak at 2,632. The Orioles haven’t made the playoffs since, but this could be their year; they’re currently in playoff position. Here are today’s AL East links...
- There are indications that the Red Sox won't pursue a long-term extension with Will Middlebrooks this offseason, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. The team's front office executives aren't in a rush to make a long-term judgment about Middlebrooks. “Obviously it’s a possibility,” Middlebrooks said.
- Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner are too similar to be the Yankees' corner outfielders in 2013, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. The Yankees hope to have Gardner back at full health next year, so Ichiro might have to sign elsewhere as a free agent. Davidoff won't be surprised if Ichiro's still unsigned in January.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston characterized the last few months as the "half season from hell," Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reports. Beeston said "there is a feeling of emptiness" at not being able to deliver for fans and added that he’s “actually pissed off” that the A’s and Orioles are headed for the playoffs while the Blue Jays are not.
Yankees president Randy Levine addressed the team’s age, injuries, leadership and prospective free agents in a comprehensive interview with Barry Bloom of MLB.com. Here are some more highlights from his interview with Bloom:
- The Yankees aim to avoid the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014, Levine confirmed. “There are tremendous financial incentives to do it,” he said. “In addition to not paying the tax, there are tens of millions of dollars in revenue sharing rebates that will come back to teams like the Yankees if they stay under the threshold.”
- The Yankees must get younger to continue competing, Levine said. Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement places additional importance on player development and changes to the CBA could also lead to a “very different free-agent market,” Levine said.
- Joe Girardi and his staff have done a “good job,” Levine said. He declined to discuss Girardi’s long-term future with the team, saying only that discussions would take place at the appropriate time.
- Levine expressed confidence in general manager Brian Cashman and the team’s other front office executives. “I think everybody is great.”
- The Yankees are doing “very, very well” from a business standpoint, Levine said. He made it clear that the Steinbrenner family has no intention of selling the club, but said the Dodgers’ sale price of $2 billion “gives us something to smile about.”
- The Yankees would “love to have” Mariano Rivera come back in 2013, Levine said. “If he wants to come back, we'll welcome him back.”
- The Yankees want Rafael Soriano in New York and believe he has done a tremendous job. The closer is expected to opt out of his contract with the Yankees after the season and elect free agency.
- The Yankees will talk to Andy Pettitte this offseason if the left-hander is interested in returning for another year.
- Ichiro Suzuki “has done a good job” in New York, Levine said. As of now, however, the team is focused on 2012, not Ichiro’s next contract.
- Levine acknowledged that he’s concerned about injuries, saying the frequency of disabled list stints is “troubling.”
The Yankees have more wins than any American League team thanks to the second-best offense in baseball and solid pitching. Here's the latest from the Bronx...
- The Yankees will almost certainly extend a one-year qualifying offer to Nick Swisher after the season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Though the Yankees would love for Swisher to accept the offer, it’s more likely that the switch hitter will decline in search of a multiyear contract.
- Sherman wonders if the Yankees would consider keeping Swisher long-term. Though the Yankees are expected to retain Curtis Granderson and let Swisher leave as a free agent, they could change course and keep Swisher, who would likely be more affordable than Granderson.
- Agent Scott Boras acknowledged that contending teams won’t look to Derek Lowe as a starting pitcher this coming offseason. “Probably the only way, at this point of his career, to get on a good team this year and next year was as a reliever,” Boras told Sherman. The agent said his client should thrive in his new role. “Derek Lowe in the bullpen is a Lamborghini because he can do it all. He can pitch long, he can pitch in the seventh, eighth or ninth. This man is a Renaissance man.”
- Sherman wonders whether the Yankees will use David Phelps as trade bait, project him in the rotation, or rely on him as insurance for the rotation and the bullpen.
- Ichiro Suzuki is a prime-time player even if he’s in his decline phase, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Davidoff suggests it’s unlikely Ichiro will re-sign with the Yankees this coming offseason.
After 11-plus seasons in Seattle, Ichiro Suzuki has been traded to the Yankees. The Mariners responded to Ichiro’s trade request last night, sending the outfielder to New York for right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. Here’s the latest from the AL East, starting with some reactions to the big trade...
- Though Ichiro has been a star for his entire MLB career, he's now a role player on the Yankees, Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains.
- The Yankees asked about Shane Victorino and Denard Span before completing the deal for Ichiro, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes. The Phillies appear to have suggested a high asking price for Victorino (though they aren't yet committed to selling) and the Yankees believed the Twins’ asking price for Span was too high.
- The Red Sox were still listening to the Marlins about possible deals involving Hanley Ramirez last night, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. The Marlins have never been more open to trading Ramirez.
The Marlins aren’t thinking about firing manager Ozzie Guillen, but are expected to continue discussing potential trades in the week leading up to the MLB trade deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The 45-51 Marlins sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit yesterday, signaling that they don’t expect to contend in 2012. Here are more of Rosenthal’s notes...
- Hanley Ramirez could be the next player traded, Rosenthal reports. The Marlins tried to send the third baseman to Boston last week and they’re still open to moving him.
- The Marlins figure to shop Heath Bell aggressively, even though he’s just four months into a three-year contract.
- Teams covet Josh Johnson, who’s under contract for 2013.
- Ichiro Suzuki is “a lot better than you think” once you take defense and baserunning into consideration, one executive tells Rosenthal. The Yankees acquired the veteran outfielder from Seattle yesterday.
- The Rangers would love to obtain a top-of-the-rotation starter, but they believe they could address their rotation issues internally if necessary. Cole Hamels will be atop the Rangers’ list of potential targets if the Phillies don’t re-sign him.
- The Phillies are indicating to other teams that they’re eager to move Hunter Pence. The right fielder will remain under team control through 2013, when he’s expected to obtain a raise and earn $13-14MM.
- Rosenthal mentioned this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating: the Nationals are among the teams interested in Zack Greinke.
A legendary figure in Seattle will be changing uniforms, but won't have to go farther than the visitors' clubhouse to join his new team. The Yankees, who are playing in Seattle tonight, have acquired Ichiro Suzuki and cash from the Mariners in exchange right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, the teams have confirmed.
Within the press release, Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln revealed that Ichiro requested the trade:
“Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his long time agent, Tony Attanasio, approached Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him. Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop."
The 38-year-old Ichiro has never known life outside of Seattle in the Major Leagues, but will jump from a last place team to a first place team as a result of the transaction. The two-time batting champion's production has tapered off considerably in recent years, and he's hitting just .261/.288/.353 this season. A move from the spacious Safeco Field to Yankee Stadium could very well help boost his offensive production, however.
Ichiro, who is a free agent following the 2012 season, is owed roughly $6.7MM of his $17MM salary. The Yankees will be responsible for $2.25MM of that salary, meaning the Mariners are including somewhere around $4.5MM to facilitate the deal. Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement prevents teams from acquiring compensatory draft picks for players who didn't spend the entirety of the season on their roster. In other words, Ichiro is strictly a rental.
The Yankees' interest likely picked up when Brett Gardner suffered another setback in his rehab. Because Ichiro has 10-and-5 rights, he had the chance to veto this trade, but approved a deal to the Yanks. Mitchell is on the Yankees' 40-man roster, but Farquhar is not, which means the Mariners will not have to make a corresponding move.
Mitchell, 25, has appeared in four games for the Yankees this season, pitching to a 3.86 ERA in 4 2/3 innings. In 85 2/3 career Triple-A innings, he has a 3.81 ERA with a 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. The Yankees selected him out of Clemson University in the 10th round of the 2008 draft.
The 25-year-old Farquhar was taken just 11 picks earlier in the same draft, by the Blue Jays. He spent time in the Jays and Athletics organizations this season, and was claimed off waivers by the Yankees on June 26 after the A's designated him for assignment. Farquhar owns a 4.65 ERA in 69 2/3 Triple-A innings, where he's posted a 7.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.
David Wright's remarkable offensive production continued today, as he homered twice against the Nationals. He now boasts a .353/.443/.586 batting line, so he'll have considerable leverage should the Mets look to sign him long-term this coming offseason. Here are today's links...
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that the Dodgers seem to have "50 or 60'' things going on with 12 days to go before the trade deadline. Jimmy Rollins is indeed one of the many established players that Dodgers executives are considering, Heyman writes.
- The Angels could use Cole Hamels and have the pieces to acquire him if the Phillies make him available, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. “Why wouldn’t you want a guy like that in your rotation?” Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson asked Morosi.
- Dylan Bundy hasn’t thrown a pitch at the MLB level and Joey Votto is a former MVP who recently signed one of the biggest contracts in baseball history, but they have something in common, according to Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: lots and lots of trade value. Left-handers David Price, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw have even more trade value than Bundy or Votto, Cameron writes.
- Ichiro Suzuki told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan (via a translator) that he’s not sure how he fits in the Mariners’ plans for 2013 and beyond. “If the team is saying they need you, you're necessary, then it becomes a piece,” Ichiro said. “But if it's just coming from the player, it's not going to happen." The Mariners plan to re-sign Ichiro after his contract expires this fall, GM Jack Zduriencik has said.
- I made a video appearance on the Score’s Getting Blanked Show today, discussing the Dodgers, Angels and Marlins. My conversation takes place at the 12 minute mark, but the entire show is worth watching.
Arizona GM Kevin Towers told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he expects a “lightning round” of trades during the 48-hour period leading up to the July 31st trade deadline. “That's when things really are going to pick up," Towers predicts. Until then, here are Nightengale’s latest rumors:
- The Dodgers are the leaders for Ryan Dempster, a Cubs official told Nightengale (latest Dempster rumors here).
- Meanwhile, the Rangers and Tigers would love to trade for Matt Garza.
- Justin Upton will be traded, Nightengale writes. It’s a question of whether the Diamondbacks complete the trade now or after the season.
- The Diamondbacks plan to trade shortstop Stephen Drew by the end of the month. They talked to the Mariners about a potential deal, but infielders Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager and pitching prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton are off-limits in trade talks.
- Nightengale suggests the Marlins and Mariners could consider trades for Hanley Ramirez and Ichiro Suzuki, respectively.