After years of futility and signs pointing to a youth process in Seattle this past season, their longtime superstar and face of the franchise Ichiro Suzuki approached Mariners management requesting a trade. On July 23, they would grant him his wish, trading him to the New York Yankees for two minor league pitchers. In addition, the Yankees received cash in the deal, thus solidifying the end of an era for the Mariners.
The move to the Bronx would prove to be an invigorating one, as his batting average improved from .261 to .322, while also adding five home runs, 27 RBIs, and 14 steals. Furthermore, a strong postseason which saw Ichiro bat .275 and hit his first career post-season home run made him all the more endearing to the Yankees faithful, which led to the Yankees bringing him back to the tune of two years, $13 million. With a place he can now comfortably call home, Suzuki is excited to begin his first full season in the Bronx.
“Signing with the Yankees has given me a new sense of determination,” the 39-year old outfielder said Tuesday after a workout in Kobe. “This is a unique team, a team that can have a player like Alex Rodriguez as a pinch hitter is special and to be part of that is exciting.”
Suzuki is expected to start the season in right field with Curtis Granderson in center field and Brett Gardner in left field. While adding a strong prowess for getting on base and strong base path instincts, Suzuki is also a 10-time Gold Glove award winner.
Additionally, Suzuki reiterated Monday he will not be representing Japan in this year's World Baseball Classic after helping them to two championships in the tournament's only two years of existence.
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