Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Yankees and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki could be reunited by the end of the week.
The two sides are nearing completion of a one-year deal, according to several reports published Monday, which would give the Yankees a stopgap replacement for free agent Nick Swisher.
Ichiro appeared rejuvenated after his midseason trade from the Mariners, hitting .322 in 67 games and making a smooth transition into a Yankees clubhouse filled with fellow veterans.
After making his first postseason appearance since 2001—he hit .217 in the ALDS and .353 in the ALCS—the 39-year-old made no secret about enjoying his time in New York, opening the door for a potential return.
Ichiro would give the Yankees three lefthanded-hitting outfielders, increasing the odds that general manager Brian Cashman will add a righthanded-hitting outfielder for balance.
Here are Ichiro’s CAIRO percentile forecasts as a Yankee for 2012.
Although I agree the Yankees need to add a RHB, Ichiro doesn’t necessarily need to be platooned if you look at his regressed projected wOBA splits.
|%||wOBA vs L||wOBA vs R|
Given his age he should be platooned some, but he can effectively be close to a full-time RF. His offensive projection isn’t all that great for a corner OF, but he projects to be around a +7 defensive RF using an average of DRS, UZR and zone rating. He also figures to add a few runs on the bases (around 5, 2, 12 and 2 runs over the past four seasons). So if he can be around +5 BRAR and +5 on defense and +2 on the bases he’s worth around 1.2 WAR. That’s not great, but maybe he can hit closer to the 65% forecast and most importantly he’ll only be signed for one year.
As far as the RH outfielder, if the Yankees do end up signing Kevin Youkilis they may try to get by with someone like Ronnier Mustelier if they can’t get someone like Cody Ross or Scott Hairston on a one year deal. If they do that then they really need to try and upgrade catcher because there isn’t really anywhere else on the team where they can make a big upgrade.
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