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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.