Mariners trade Ichiro Suzuki to New York Yankees

Jul 23, 2012

Ichiro Suzuki is going to the Yankees, confirms KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. 

“The Mariners have been spared huge ugliness,” Thiel said. "He wanted out of Seattle and Seattle fans wanted him gone, I think, largely because he was not productive for the salary he was making and was in the way of younger players."

"And the upshot is that they avoided having to re-sign him after his contract expired this year for pursuit of his personal milestones goals like 3,000 hits and so on. It was an increasingly tense circumstance surrounding the Mariners and finding the Yankees willing to take him is for Mariners fans a bonus regardless of whatever they get in return."

The Yankees acquired Ichiro for right-handed pitchers  D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. The Mariners will pick up nearly $3 million of the $5 million left on Ichiro’s contract this season, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reports.

Ichiro, 38,  joined the Mariners in 2001. He was named Rookie of the Year and American League MVP that year.

Ichiro, in the last year of a four-year contract that pays him $18 million this season, initiated trade talks, according to the Mariners.

“I’m in complete disbelief,” outfielder Michael Saunders told SportsPress Northwest. “Generally you’ll have a idea about who will get traded before the trading deadline (July 31), but I never thought it would be the face of the franchise for the last 11 years. Now he’ll be here in pinstripes (the Yankees and Mariners open a three-game series Monday at Safeco Field), and I’m in complete disbelief.”

Ichiro set a major league record with over 200 hits in each of his first 10 seasons, batting over .300 each year and winning the American League MVP as a rookie. But in 2011, he amassed 184 hits, batting .272, KING 5 reports.

Sports Illustrated says the veteran outfielder will fill the role of Brett Gardner, who was lost for the season with an elbow injury.

USA Today says he will he will face his old team “and wear his familiar uniform number 51, last worn with the Yankees by Bernie Williams.”

 

Here’s the Mariners press release announcing the move: 

SEATTLE -- The Mariners announced on Monday that they had traded outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees for right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.

Ichiro has been the face of the Mariners for his 12 years with the team. He has been to 10 All-Star Games and is the franchise leader in hits, runs scored, triples and at-bats. He won both the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Award in 2001.

Last year was Ichiro's first time hitting under .300 in the Major Leagues, and has hit .261 this season while bouncing around the top three spots in the batting order.

"On behalf of our ownership group and everyone in the Seattle Mariners organization, I thank Ichiro for the great career he's had here in Seattle," Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said in a release.

"Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his longtime agent, Tony Attanasio, approached Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him. Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop.

"Ichiro will be missed. He owns a long list of Major League Baseball and Mariners club records, has earned many prestigious awards, and in my opinion, he will someday be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I know that I speak for all of Ichiro's fans, both here in the Pacific Northwest, around this country and also throughout Japan, in wishing him and his wife, Yumiko, the very best as he continues his baseball career with the Yankees."

Mitchell and Farquhar will both report to the Triple-A Tacoma.