Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has lost patience with the New York Yankees over a contract extension and has begun talking with other teams, his agent said on Friday.
“At the beginning we talked a lot, but since that time, zero,” Ichiro’s agent Tony Attanasio told Friday’s New York Post.
“As far as we are concerned we don’t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it,” Attanasio said.
Only a week ago Attanasio said the 39-year-old outfielder preferred to stay with the Yankees despite interest from several Major League Baseball teams.
During a seven-game streak in August, Ichiro, Japan’s most successful sporting export, batted .526 — going 10 for 19 — and finished .322 for the season in 67 games.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman refused to rule out Ichiro staying.
“Our focus was first on pitching and see the amount of dollars we needed to secure pitching,” Cashman said. “Now we will focus on players who want to talk to us.”
Meanwhile, David Wright agreed to the richest contract in New York Mets history while Tommy Hanson was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on a busy day in baseball on Friday when dozens of players were dumped by their teams.
Houston scooped up Philip Humber, hoping he is a perfect fit, and Mariano Rivera returned for another season with the Yankees. He will be throwing to a new catcher, though, after Russell Martin completed his US$17 million, two-year deal with Pittsburgh.
Jair Jurrjens, Mark Reynolds, Mike Pelfrey and Jack Hannahan were among the most notable names set to become free agents yesterday after their former clubs declined to offer them contracts for next season.
Teams had until midnight on Friday to make offers for next year to unsigned players on 40-man rosters.
Wright and the Mets settled on a US$138 million, eight-year deal, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The agreement replaces the All-Star third baseman’s US$16 million salary for next season and includes US$122 million in new money, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been finalized.
Some of the money in Wright’s deal will be deferred.
Wright is the club’s career leader in several major offensive categories, including hits, RBIs, runs and walks. He turns 30 on Dec. 20 and would have been eligible for free agency after next season.
Atlanta shipped Hanson to the Angels for former closer Jordan Walden, clearing a spot in the rotation for Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or another young starter.
Hanson’s velocity decreased as he battled rotator cuff tendinitis in 2011 and a lower back strain this year. However, the 26-year-old right-hander was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts over four big league seasons with the Braves.
Walden had 32 saves in 2011, making the All-Star team as a rookie, but lost his closer’s role to Ernesto Frieri this year and finished 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA. He became expendable when the Angels agreed this week to a US$3.5 million, one-year contract with reliever Ryan Madson.
Walden gives Atlanta another hard-thrower for its bullpen to help set up closer Craig Kimbrel.
The ninth inning in New York belongs to Rivera, who accepted a cut in guaranteed money when he finalized a US$10 million, one-year contract after missing most of the season with a knee injury.