While the Yankees wait on Kevin Youkilis' decision to accept or reject a one-year, $12 million offer, they are close to bringing Ichiro Suzuki back to The Bronx.
"He has a lot of interest from two or three teams but it could get done in the next couple of days,'' a person familiar with the situation said of Ichiro returning to the Yankees, who are looking to fill the void in right field created by Nick Swisher's departure.
Early in the process, Suzuki's agent, Tony Attanasio, said his client was willing to wait on the Yankees. Then when the Yankees focused strictly on getting their pitching in order, Attanasio's tune changed.
"At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero,'' Attanasio said on Nov. 30 of discussions with the Yankees, which since have been resumed. "As far as we're concerned, we don't care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like, he'll go through with it."
If the left-handed-hitting Ichiro returns — likely on a one-year deal — the Yankees will still need a right-handed bat in the outfield, which already houses lefty swingers Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson.
One possibility is Scott Hairston, the former Met who can play right and left field.
Ichiro, 39, quickly turned into a Yankee Stadium fan favorite. Thanks to a torrid seven-game stretch in August in which he went 10-for-19 (.526), he batted .322 in 67 games as a Yankee following his trade from the Mariners.
Because the Yankees haven't offered anybody a multi-year deal this offseason, it's likely Ichiro's offer would be for one year. After making $17 million last season, Ichiro can expect a sizeable pay cut.
Yankees' Ichiro now likely to return
New York Post | Dec 11