On a day filled with big trades and rumored big trades this one qualifies as the most shocking: Jack Curry of YES Network reports that the Yankees have acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners for minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.
Just last week Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik insisted that Suzuki would not be traded and the Mariners wanted to re-sign the impending free agent, but according to a statement released by the team the former MVP asked for a trade “several weeks ago.”
Suzuki is in the midst of a career-worst season at age 38, hitting just .261 with a .288 on-base percentage and .353 slugging percentage, but the Yankees are obviously betting on him still have some gas left in the tank as a replacement for Brett Gardner.
Anything can happen in a two-month window and obviously Suzuki can get hot in a hurry. Or at least the Ichiro of old could get hot in a hurry. Dating back to the beginning of last season he’s hit just .268 with a .302 on-base percentage and .342 slugging percentage in 1,144 plate appearances spread over 256 games.
Mitchell was the Yankees’ 10th-round pick in 2008 and made his big-league debut in May at age 25, projecting as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter or long reliever. Farquhar has similarly modest upside as a middle reliever and two weeks ago the Yankees passed him through waivers unclaimed.
In other words, the Mariners got a pair of non-prospects for Suzuki.
UPDATE: How’s this for drama? Ichiro will be in the Yankees’ lineup tonight … against the Mariners, in Seattle.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.