With the announcement last night that they signed 39-year old outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to a two-year contract, reportedly worth $13 million, the Yankees appear ready to go to battle in 2013 with the same outfield manager Joe Girardi surprisingly — perhaps even desperately — started in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series in Detroit on October 16.
With the Yankees down 2-0 in the series and facing Justin Verlander, Girardi benched slumping Nick Swisher and started Ichiro in right, Curtis Granderson in center and Brett Gardner in left, even though Gardner had missed nearly the entire regular season with an injury.
Until the Yankees make another move, that trio of left-handed hitters is their outfield, which means several things. For one, the Yankees are attempting to become less reliant on the home run. For another, they were impressed with what Suzuki did in 67 games.
The feeling was mutual, as the veteran outfielder immediately became a leader in the clubhouse, and a model for consistency and day-to-day preparation.
"The Yankees are the kind of team that I always envisioned being a part of," Suzuki said in a statement. "Everyone has a strong desire to win, but the Yankees also have an atmosphere where losing is not an option. These two observations may sound similar, but I believe it is a rarity to find both coexisting in the same organization."
Yankees ink Ichiro Suzuki to a two-year, $13-million deal
Newark Star-Ledger | Dec 20