New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki acknowledges the fans before… (Elaine Thompson / Associated…)
Ichiro Suzuki could be playing in left field for New York Yankees, but his trade to the Bronx didn't originate there.
Suzuki, who was traded to the Yankees on Monday in exchange for minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, said he asked the Seattle Mariners several weeks ago to consider trading him. That request eventually led to interest from the Yankees, who found out last week that left fielder Brett Gardner will probably miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury.
Still, the idea of playing for a team with the best record in baseball has made Suzuki eager to start a new chapter in his career.
“I am going from a team with the most losses to a team with the most wins,” he said through an interpreter at a news conference. “It's hard to contain my excitement for that reason.”
Suzuki started in place of the injured Nick Swisher in right field against the Mariners at Safeco Field on Monday, but is expected to play in left field once Swisher returns. The 38-year-old has not played in left field since 2001, the year he won the American League most valuable player award.
Suzuki has also had his share of struggles at the plate, batting .261 with 28 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases. But the Yankees seem confident he can be a valuable contributor.
“We're very excited with the caliber of player we are getting. We feel that he brings the speed element. He's a tremendous hitter. That speed element is what we lost when Gardy had surgery,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “So this is a big day for us.”
But what do you think? Are the Yankees clear-cut contenders for another World Series title now that Suzuki has joined the lineup or will another team beat them for top honors in October?