The Yankees had sort of tabled their negotiations with Ichiro Suzuki while concentrating on reassembling their pitching staff and filling the void left by Alex Rodriguez's injury. With the pitchers reupped and Kevin Youkilis now in the fold, New York is turning attention back to Ichiro and finding a heavier price than the one they might have expected.
Pending some final signatures and a physical, Ichiro will re-sign for around $12–$13 million over two years. That the deal is for two years, not just one, and for that much money might be the reason for New York's delay. Ichiro & Co. said from the beginning that they wanted him back in New York and were willing to wait, but got a bit antsy and fielded offers from at least two teams (one being the Phillies) that were closer to $14 or $15 million over the two years. So, it's not exactly a bargain for New York, but it's a discount from what he could have gotten elsewhere.
Once he signs, Ichiro will join an outfield that, barring a trade (perhaps of Curtis Granderson, which could move Ichiro from right to center field), looks to be stocked with strong arms but lacking in bat power. They could use a lefty, too. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Ichiro can sustain the uptick in productivity he experienced upon joining the Yankee lineup. Or maybe he'll be EVEN BETTER.