Ichiro Suzuki Rumors
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com...
- The Yankees and Russell Martin are discussing a new contract, though Martin appears to be talking to at least one other team. Talks involving the free agent catcher are “heating up,” according to Heyman. The Yankees made progress with Martin over the weekend, though the sides were apart on dollars several days ago. The Rangers have Martin on their list and other teams, such as the Pirates, Mariners and White Sox, are considering catchers.
- The Yankees are confident they can re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Heyman reports. The Yankees expect to reach a deal with the free agent outfielder, who has said he hopes to return to New York.
- The Red Sox, Braves and Giants appear to be looking at Nick Swisher, Heyman reports. The market for Swisher seems strong enough for him to obtain a deal of at least four years and executives see the outfielder signing for $12-14MM per season. The Red Sox like Swisher’s versatility since they have openings at first base and in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Braves and Giants are also looking for corner outfield help.
Although he is drawing interest from other teams around the league, Ichiro Suzuki prefers to re-sign with the Yankees according to his agent Tony Attanasio. Attanasio told George A. King III of The New York Post that his client is willing to wait to see if New York wants him back after working out new contracts with Mariano Rivera and potentially Andy Pettitte.
"They are going after pitching first which is what the Yankees normally do," said Attanasio. "There has been a lot of interest [from teams], but he enjoyed playing for the Yankees so much it’s hard for him to say no to the Yankees. His preference is to stay there instead of going someplace else, but we will wait and see."
Ichiro, 39, hit .283/.307/.390 in 663 plate appearances last season, but put up a .322/.340/.454 batting line in 240 plate appearances with the Yankees following the trade. He also agreed to move from right field to left and bat near the bottom of the order. King says if the Yankees want Ichiro back, he would have to agree to a one-year contract with a pay cut from the $17MM he made in 2012.
The Giants and White Sox were among the teams with interest in Ichiro prior to the trade deadline, and earlier this month we heard the Yankees have some interest in bringing him back as a replacement for Nick Swisher. Tim Dierkes ranked the long-time Mariner as the 40th best free agent on his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would sign with the Rays.
The Yankees are considering a defensive change for next season, shifting Curtis Granderson to left field and Brett Gardner to center, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Granderson's defense has declined in recent years, as he has posted negative UZR/150 ratings in four of the last five years, including a -18.2 UZR/150 in 2012. Gardner, on the other hand, has a career 30.6 UZR/150, ranking him amongst the best defensive outfielders in the game.
Here's the latest from both the Yankees and Mets...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't plan to offer Rafael Soriano a deal similar to the one he signed after the 2010 season that established Soriano as Mariano Rivera's set-up man and understudy at closer, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. "I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man." Soriano is a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal, and agent Scott Boras said Soriano is looking for a four-year contract to close. Soriano could still return to the Bronx, of course, if Rivera retires and the Bombers suddenly have a hole at the back of their bullpen.
- Also from Matthews, he reports that the Yankees will make qualifying offers to Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda. Swisher will almost surely turn this offer down but Kuroda "might accept it." The Yankees have interest in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez on short-term contracts, while the club also would like to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Russell Martin.
- The Yankees haven't received any calls from teams interested in Alex Rodriguez, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. It could be a moot point, as Nightengale hears that Rodriguez isn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team.
- The Mets are continuing to talk to David Wright about a multiyear extension but talks are "stuck in neutral" and there is "nothing imminent" between the two sides, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (both links to Twitter).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden believes Wright and the Mets will agree to a new long-term contract, but if they can't, Bowden suggests five teams who could become trade destinations for Wright.
Ichiro Suzuki strongly wants to re-sign with the Yankees, a person close to the free agent outfielder told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Ichiro enjoyed playing in a winning atmosphere with players in his age range this past season, Sherman reports. It sounds as though Ichiro could be retained for a one-year deal in the $5-8MM range.
The Yankees still intend to build around left-handed power, Sherman reports. This will make it difficult to accommodate both Ichiro and Brett Gardner without shifting Gardner to a reserve role. Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently said the Yankees will have a better sense of how Ichiro fits in their plans when they hold their upcoming pro scouting meetings.
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.