Leave it to the old guys in the Yankees starting lineup to take control. The New York Yankees is the largest market team in the nation and even though they have the deep pockets needed to hire all the young and talented prospects they could wish for, sometimes they like to play it safe, and go for the more experienced player. And Sunday’s win against the Boston Red Sox is a good reminder of why a trio of players reaching their 40’s sometimes just makes so much sense. Ichiro Suzuki, who was recently acquired from the Seattle Mariners, Hiroki Kuroda who pitched eight inning of four-hit ball and Derek Jeter, who signed off three hits for the night, guided the Yankees to a 4-1 win over Boston.
The Yankees were also able to put an end to the dominance that Josh Beckett had over their batting lineup. The right-hander was 5-0 in his previous seven starts against the Yankees since losing to them on Aug. 8, 2010. But then again, Beckett had never faced the New York Yankees since they purchased the hitting machine, Ichiro Suzuki. After his second home run of the night, fans in the sellout crowd of 48,620 chanted “Ichiro! Ichiro!” It was certainly a nice welcoming for the All-Star player who had been in Seattle for the entirety of his professional career.
Sure enough we knew from the start that the New York Yankees needed to get a little help in the outfield, considering the injured Nick Swisher would be out with an injury for the rest of the season. But filling that spot and signing Ichiro Suzuki is quite a big surprise. The Japanese star is going from a team in the last spot of the American League to move into the first place of the same league, while starting in a team that is by all means a World Series Contender.
It was a great trade, one that has proved to be working a bit better for the Yankees than for the guys at the Safeco Field. The Seattle Mariners received pitching prospects D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar in the transaction that landed the 38-year-old veteran in New York. The Yankees will also receive some cash considerations, some sources rumor up to $5 million dollars for the trade. Ichiro was traded in his last year of a 5-year $90 million dollar contract he signed with the Mariners. Sure enough, the Mariners have already paid out most of the contract, but still, considering that the Yankees listed him 8th in the batting order, he is certainly going to be the most expensive 8th batter in the league. This was also a first, for the Japanese star. As a matter of fact, he has never started lower than the top three spots in the batting lineup since he began his professional career in 2001.
Ichiro realized that at 37-years-old, it was time to find something new. And the Yankees seemed as a good option. “When I spent time during the All-Star break to think, I realized that this team has many players in their early 20s,” Ichiro said through a translator on a short press conference. “I began to think I should not be on this team next year. I also started to feel a desire to be in an atmosphere that I could have a different kind of stimulation than I have right now.” The Seattle Mariners didn’t hesitate much to grant Ichiro his request. He is by all means a tremendous hitter and even though his prime might be behind him, he can certainly give the Yankees the speed element they need right now.