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.