ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted earlier that Ichiro Suzuki appears to be the odd man out in the Yankees’ outfield and adds that the Phillies could use outfield help. The Yankees, of course, will have recent free agent additions Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran in center and right, respectively, and Brett Gardner in left. Alfonso Soriano would back up in either corner while Gardner can move back to center in a pinch.
The Phillies don’t have a starting spot for Ichiro, but could put him on the bench. GM Ruben Amaro said during the off-season that he prefers to have a left-handed hitting outfielder capable of playing center field, but those were scarce throughout the off-season. He did add Bobby Abreu, but outside of drawing a few walks, he has had a disappointing spring to date, hitting just .111 in 18 at-bats.
That being said, there doesn’t seem to be a strong match considering that the Phillies are right up against the $189 million luxury tax when everything is factored in. The Yankees would have to pay just about the entirety of his $6.5 million salary or take back an equally-expensive player in return, such as reliever Mike Adams ($7 million) who is recovering from a torn rotator cuff and two labrum tears.
The Phillies adding the 40-year-old to their roster, though, would make for a fresh source of age-related jokes at their expense.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.