After being swept by the Oakland A’s in a four game series, the Yankees were off to Seattle to face the Mariners in their last series of the west coast before returning home. They weren’t just playing Seattle, they were acquiring a Mariner. The Yanks announced the trade of Ichiro just hours before their first game in Seattle on Monday. Before we all knew it, Ichiro appeared in pinstripes on the field and got a very warm welcome from the Mariners fans. What sparked this trade?
The Yankees were in a bind. They realized Brett Gardner might be out for the remaining season with an elbow injury and although Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones have been great additions to the teams outfield, the staff had concerns about their speed and ages as it got closer to the end of the season. What better timing! Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners asked to be traded to a contender – well, of course the Yanks are a contender so it seemed to be a perfect fit. The Mariners are in last place in the AL West with a 43-56 record while the Yankees are in first place in the AL East with a 58-39 record. WOW! What a contender for Ichiro to be traded to. The Yanks traded two minor league pitchers, DJ Mitchell and Danny Farquhar for Suzuki. He is currently in his last year of a five year, $90 million contract with the Mariners, but the Yankees will only pay $2.5 million of the remaining. Suzuki has been such a wonderful influence and a great player for the Mariners since he joined the team in 2001, “He deserves a chance to play for a contending team before the end of his magnificent career.” “The Mariners should certainly not stand in his way,” Chief executive of the Mariners, Howard Lincoln said. Joe Girardi, manager of the NYY was thrilled with the news, stating “It’s a big day for us.”
Suzuki batted eighth in the Yankee lineup for his first two games as a Yankee. On Monday night the Yankees won 4-1 with Ichiro claiming his first base hit with the Yanks. That must have been extra special for him, especially at Safeco field against the Mariners. Tuesday the Yankees lost to the Mariners 4-2. The two teams are battling off in the rubber game this afternoon. Let’s see if the Yankees can remain at the top of the AL, with Texas trailing one win behind them.
The Ichiro trade seems like a no brainer, but the Yankees mentioned the age of Raul Ibanez, 40 and Andruw Jones, 35 as a possible issue towards the end of the season. Suzuki is 38 and although he is fast and has had much success, is his age a concern for the Yanks? Weigh in and let me know your thoughts!