Toronto Blue Jays reportedly interested in Ichiro Suzuki


The Toronto Blue Jays have been largely quiet in recent weeks, perhaps to a fault, but the rumor mill has started up again with Bob Nightengale of USA Today linking the Jays to free agent OF Ichiro Suzuki.  At age 41, Suzuki seems determined to chase the 3,000 hit plateau which he sits just 156 shy of.

Ichiro Suzuki appeared in 143 games for the New York Yankees last season, posting a slash line of .284 / .324 / .340.  His defense has regressed to a relatively average level, and despite his high success rate (15 of 18), Ichiro failed to reach 20 stolen bases for the first time in his career.

The Ichiro we see today is, of course, an watered-down version of one of the greatest hitters this generation has seen.  The future Hall of Fame outfielder has a career .317 average highlighted by three seasons in which he batted at least .350.  While he could be a great veteran addition as a fourth outfielder on the right club, I fail to see him as a logical fit in Toronto.

More from Jays Journal

The estimated remaining payroll remaining for the Blue Jays seems to be dropping by the week, with most recent estimates pegging it around $5-7M.  Even if Ichiro were to cut his $6.5M salary from 2014 in half, this would be a poor allocation of very thin remaining resources.  As an insurance policy behind a rookie CF in Dalton Pompey and an oft-injured LF in Michael Saunders, Ichiro does have appeal, but money and need are not matching up here.

As it stands today, Kevin Pillar is the likely fourth outfielder who is sure to see a good share of at-bats.  Pillar has enjoyed a ton success at the AAA level, and although he’d be well served to take the odd walk, I see the security of a full season on the Major League roster doing wonders for him.  Past Pillar, speedster Ezequiel Carrera could push for a roster spot in Spring Training.

These options are not elite, but with uncertainty in the bullpen, a glaring hole at second base and a lack of left-handed hitting, the alleged interest in Ichiro Zuzuki is a bit of a head-scratcher.  Unless Alex Anthopoulos is given some fresh finances overnight, the Toronto Blue Jays may not have the luxury of moves such at this.