Updated: July 23, 2012
Star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, 38, was acquired by the New York Yankees on July 23, 2012 from the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees sent minor league pitchers D. J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners in exchange for Suzuki, whose five-year, $90 million contract with Seattle was set to expire after the 2012 season.
The Yankees made the trade a few days after learning that outfielder Brett Gardner would likely miss the rest of the season because of an elbow problem. The trade was announced a few hours before the Yankees were scheduled to play the Mariners at Seattle.
Suzuki had spent his entire major league career until then with Seattle. At the time of the trade, the 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner was batting .261 with four home runs, 28 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
Suzuki is a career .322 hitter, a former AL MVP and holds the record for most hits in a season. He had batted over .300 in every season until dipping in 2011.
Suzuki became the first Japan-born position player when he went to Seattle before the 2001 season after nine years in Japan’s Pacific League. His success in the majors leagues helped paved the way for many other players, including the former Yankee Hideki Matsui.
“I am overcome with feelings when I think of the times I spent with the fans here,” an emotional Suzuki said through an interpreter about Seattle fans.
Suzuki, who had never played in a World Series, had asked the rebuilding Mariners for a trade to a contending team, and they obliged.
“I am going from a team with the most losses to a team with the most wins,” Suzuki said, “so I am not able to contain my excitement in that regard.”