The New York Yankees finally came to an agreement with free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who will sign a new two-year contract with the club. The deal is expected to be worth $13 million, according to Jon Heyman.
This is the third time this Winter that reports have surfaced saying a deal between Ichiro and the Yankees was complete, but this time there are multiple outlets saying it’s done. New York had been wanting to come to terms on a one-year contract, but Suzuki had at least a couple of two-year offers in hand. The Yankees did end up paying less for the 39-year-old outfielder than the offers Suzuki had from the Phillies and the Giants as Ichiro made it clear he wanted to return to the Bombers.
The 10-time all-star owns a career .322/.365/.419 line over 12 big league seasons. This contract gives him an outside shot to reach 300 major league hits while with the Yankees. After spending the early portion of his professional career playing in his native Japan, Suzuki has averaged 217 hits per year. Over the past two seasons, however, Suzuki has averaged just 181 hits per year.
Suzuki gets to return to right field in 2012 after spending the last half of 2013 in left field with New York. The Yankees will field an outfield of great speed at all three outfield positions, but lack traditional power at the corners.
New York had been extremely focused on one-year contracts in an effort to get under the luxury tax threshold for the 2014 season. After signing no fewer than four one-year deals with free agents thus far, the threat of losing Suzuki forced New York’s hand.