Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Last night, as I was just about to shut down my computer at work, I got an email from a co-worker who literally sits about 15 feet away from.
Subject: Ichiro to the Yankees
Message: I hate you.
I should also mention that he is a Red Sox fan.
Brian Cashman has to be the stealthiest, most ninja-y GM in the game. He acquired Ichiro out of nowhere for two minor league pitchers. I love the deal on all accounts. The Yanks barely gave up a thing. DJ Mitchell could end up being a long-man/spot starter, but I'd be surprised if he ended up as anything more. Danny Farquhar was picked up a few weeks ago and isn't much of a prospect.
The asking price for guys like Shane Victorino, Denard Span, and Justin Upton would have cost the Yanks top prospects. Here, they fill a hole with a still speedy, still defensively-strong Ichiro. I'm well aware that this is not the 2001-2009 Ichiro who hit .350 with 225 hits every year. But that's not what he was brought in to be. He was brought in to add speed and defense at the bottom of the order, and I anticipate him doing just that. He'll play RF while Swisher is injured, and then move to left to spell the surprisingly productive platoon of Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. He took DeWayne Wise's roster spot. In a moment late in the game, who would you rather have at bat? A past-his-prime Ichiro, or Wise?
I can see Ichiro really be reinvigorated by this deal and the potential to play October baseball. If he performs well, he could be brought back on a one-year contract while the Yanks let Swisher walk away in free agency, freeing up money to re-sign Cano and Granderson. And if he doesn't, well, it's still cool to see him in a Yankees uniform.
Either way, I'm excited to add a player like Ichiro, and I hope he shows a little more of his old self than his recent self. It's low risk, high reward.