Friday, May 31, 2013

Are Ichiro's Hours in the Bronx Numbered?

With Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis set to return to the Yankees lineup tonight two players will need to be removed from the 25-man roster. One is likely to be rookie David Adams, who has started at third base in 13 of the 14 games he's appeared in since his recall from the minor leagues on May 15. But who will be the second player?

There has been speculation that there is no room for Lyle Overbay since he is strictly a first baseman. But how do you jettison someone who has been so clutch through the first 53 games of the season. Overbay's numbers were even comparable to the Teixeira's at the same point last year.

One candidate to be let go/traded/designated for assignment is Ichiro Suzuki. I was against bringing back the one time great hitter, because he only had 1 1/2 good months last season. So many Yankees fans ascribe to the "What have you done lately?" theorem that they overlook what Ichiro did in the first four and one-half months of last season.

Prior to the trade deadline deal, Ichiro had a career low .642 OPS. He's only at .626 so far this season. Ichiro went on a tear the last 45 days of the 2012 season, especially those days that fell in September when he hit .385 with a .916 OPS.

While the 39-year old can still play right field as if he invented the position and can steal a base here or there, his bat has gone back to looking like he's trying to hit a baseball with a whiffle ball bat.  He's produced just nine extra-base hits in 168 at-bats, which has led to the aforementioned horrendous OPS. He's also walked just nine times.

Granted, or more precisely, Grandy, Ichiro would not have played as much this season had Curtis Granderson not been injured or Ben Francisco had been productive. Even though it would leave the Yankees temporarily short-handed in the outfield, it may be time to cut ties with Ichiro.

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