With the Yankees showing strong interest in the 39 year-old outfielder and Ichiro admitting he has mutual interest in returning to the Bronx, a deal is expected to be completed in the near future. Ichiro will replace Nick Swisher as the team's right fielder, though the Yankees are still looking for a power-hitting corner outfielder to compliment Ichiro and speedy left fielder Brett Gardner.
Though contract details have not been discussed publicly, but Ichiro will be receiving a one-year deal should he return to the Yankees, as veteran teammates Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, and Mariano Rivera all received earlier this offseason. The Yankees are avoiding all multi-year deals this winter in an effort to lower the team's payroll under $189 million by 2014.
After a slow start with the Seattle Mariners, hitting just .261 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 95 games, the 10-time Gold Glove winner revived his season once traded to the Yankees, hitting .322 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 67 games. He also tallied 29 stolen bases for the season.
In addition to Ichiro, the Yankees are pursuing corner infielder Kevin Youkilis as well. Youkilis was offered a one-year deal worth $12 million from the Yankees, who patiently wait for him to accept or reject the deal.
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