What will the New York Yankees outfield look like next season?
So that leaves GM Brain Cashman with a need in right field and a sub off the bench that need to be filled. The free agent options are not endless so lets start with what the Yankees already have, or had.
NOT SO SWISHALICIOUS IN PINSTRIPES:
You can bet that Nick Swisher will be gone as he wants a multi-year deal and some other team will give him one. Over his four years spent in the Bronx, Swisher hit 105 homers, 349 RBIs, drew 327 walks, 531 strikeouts and posted a .268 batting average.
Unfortunately the last impression Swisher left was during the 2012 postseason where he had a .167 batting average, three RBIs, with 10-strikeouts and he made game changing fielding errors. Of course Swisher was not alone as he was just part of the many problems the Yankees faced this past October.
The Yankees did make a qualifying offer to Swish worth the league standard of $13.3 million for one year, but that was more of a strategic move by the Yankees to guarantee that when Swisher signs elsewhere they will be compensated with a draft pick in the first or second rounds.
Swisher became commander-like in right field to the famous Bleacher Creatures but other fans grew sick of his over zealous antics, myself included.
BRING BACK ICHIRO IS A NO-BRAINER:
When the Yankees made the trade for Ichiro Suzuki I was not for it, as adding another 38-year old superstar on the decline did not seem ideal to me at the time.
But boy was I wrong, as the lure of donning the Yankees pinstripes worked its magic and rejuvenated the 38-year-old Ichiro back to his productive ways.
Over 67-games wearing a Yankees uniform, Ichiro’s numbers prove just that:
And according to NY Post’s Joel Sherman, a source close to Ichiro said he wants to be a Yankee again and that money would not be a factor.
Well, that should be music to Cashman’s ears as it would give the Yankees a defensive dynamo trio in the outfield with Gardner in left, Grandy in the middle and Ichiro in right. But knowing the Yankees, they see Ichiro as a downgrade to Swisher because he doesn’t hit home-runs and that is what they tend to value.
In my opinion, the Yankees should re-sign Ichiro for 2013. It makes the team offensively more diverse because Ichiro is a lefty bat that is a singles hitting machine. Ichiro gets on base so if you stick him in after the 4-5-6 of the batting order maybe it would help drive in some of those runners the Yankees left on-base all last season. Plus even at his age, Ichiro can still a pest on the base pads, which is never a bad thing and another area the Yankees lacked in 2012.
Let’s just hope that Cashman doesn’t brush aside the fact that Ichiro was one of the few Yankees who could hit in the postseason, which ultimately led to the team’s HUGELY embarrassing exit from the ALCS.
Bringing back Ichiro for 2013 is something I refer to as a DA—BOOM!
IBANEZ IS A YES, PLEASE:
Raul ‘the hero’ Ibanez should definitely be back in 2013 but not for his fielding skills, as defensively it was painful to watch him cover left field last season after Gardner got injured.
Ok, he is better defensively than other designated hitters, like Hideki Matsui in 2009 and technically Big Papi as he stinks at first base. So I guess Ibanez does bring some extra cushioning if Yankees suffer from injuries; and after last season it is better be safe than sorry.
Bottom line is Ibanez can rake, he always could. He is not devoid of cold streaks, as find me an MLB batter is, but when hot Ibanez turns to fire. Mainly, Ibanez hits in crucial situations, as Yankee Universe witnessed more than once this past postseason.
So, re-signing Ibanez is another Cashman no brainer here but just for his bat but it is nice to know that if desperate he can fill in the outfield if needed.