Ichiro, 38, would like to stay in the Bronx because he enjoyed playing in a professional, winning atmosphere with so many contemporaries near his age, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Though some blame the lack of youth on New York's roster for the team's postseason struggles, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has vowed to focus on making the team better, rather than younger this season, leaving an opportunity for Ichiro's return.
The Yankees have many players entering free agency this winter and are looking to limit the team's spending through 2014, but Ichiro's hot-hitting in the final months of the season are sure to get him a reasonable offer. A person close to Ichiro believes a one-year deal worth roughly $5-8 million could be what he is looking for.
The 10-time Gold Glove winner struggled early in the season while playing for a rebuilding Seattle Mariners team, but seemed to turn it around once traded to the Yankees in the second part of the season. In 67 games, Ichiro batted .322 with five home runs, 27 RBI, and 14 stolen bases, helping the Yankees finish the regular season with the best record in the American League.
In the postseason, Ichiro was fourth on the Yankees with a .275 batting average and tied Raul Ibanez for the most runs batted in with five.
Joining Ichiro in free agency are outfielders Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, and Andruw Jones, leaving just Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner as New York's only outfielders currently under contract. The Yankees would also like to add a power-hitting lefty to the outfield, meaning Ichiro or Gardner could end up as the team's fourth outfielder in a reserve role.
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