Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki will sign a new deal with the New York Yankees, though the terms of the deal have not been finalized, according to FOX Sports.
The 39-year-old is expected to sign a two-year deal for about $14 million. That amount could give New York enough breathing room in its budget to make a run at free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Suzuki was traded to New York in July for two pitching prospects after spending his first 12 years with the Seattle Mariners.
The nine-time All-Star gave the Yankees' offense a huge boost in the second half of the season, batting .322 to go along with 28 runs, and 14 stolen bases in 67 games.
The move comes on the heels of New York’s signing of third baseman Kevin Youkilis on Tuesday for one year at $12 million, and last week’s deal with outfielder Brett Gardner.
Suzuki is a career. 322 hitter and has 2,606 hits since joining Seattle in 2001 from Japan's league. He set the league on fire that year, capturing the American League batting title, and the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year awards.
The deal appears to fall under New York’s recent propensity to slash its payroll, keeping contracts low and short term.
The savings could help New York land top free agent prize Hamilton, though they aren’t the only team chasing the 31-year-old slugger.
The Philadelphia Philles have offered Hamilton a three-year deal worth upwards of $80 million, according to CBS Philadelphia on Wednesday.
In the past, the Yankees would have scoffed at that number and upped the ante, but Hamilton's substance-abuse history and New York's more cautious budget could be too much to overcome.
Hamilton could also re-sign with the Texas Rangers, who have shown a strong interest in holding onto their prized slugger. The Boston Red Sox and Seattle are also reportedly in the running for his services.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.