The Ichiro Suzuki era came to an abrupt end on an overcast Monday afternoon at Safeco Field, as the star outfielder crossed over to the visiting clubhouse to greet members of the New York Yankees — his new teammates.
The blockbuster trade transpired so quickly, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was barely given enough warning not to put together an official lineup. Ichiro selected a uniform number — No. 31 — and found himself in that Yankees’ lineup, batting eighth and playing right field against his former Mariners club.
“I’m going from a team having the most losses to a team with the most wins, so it’s been hard to maintain my excitement in that regard,” Ichiro said through an interpreter.
The Yankees sent right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to Seattle in exchange for Ichiro. The deal also includes cash considerations. To create room on the 25-man roster for Ichiro, the Yankees designated outfielder Dewayne Wise for assignment.
“This was something that was a surprise,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “It’s an opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out for us, because I do think he can really help us. I look forward to seeing if that’s the case or not.”
It’s typical Yankee tradition. They bring in a seasoned vet/future HOFer for half a season to fill a gap, then let him go. What do you think they will do with him once Gardner, who is younger and faster, recovers? In a way I feel bad for Ichiro as now he has the added pressure to impress everyone with his skills just so he can land a job next season. Sadly it will be hard as he’s only hitting .260. What a way for arguably Japan’s greatest baseball import ever to wind down his career.
I personally wouldn’t mind seeing him get 3,000 hits in pinstripes, but I know how it’s going to go, having seen the Yanks do this kind of thing for many, many years.