CBS New York:

The Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki finalized a $13 million, two-year contract Wednesday that keeps the 10-time All-Star in the Bronx.

The 39-year-old, who will make $6.5 million in each of the next two seasons, was obtained in a trade with Seattle on July 23, revived his career and quickly became a fan favorite.”

If there was any doubt as to what drives the action of this ownership group, the Ichiro signing should remove that doubt. Let’s recap the offseason to date:

1. The Yankees make it clear they’re only interested in 1-year deals due to the 2014 Steinbrenner Cap.

2. The Yankees have no starting catcher, but allow 29-year old Russell Martin to sign with Pittsburgh for a very reasonable 2 year / $17 million deal. They reportedly don’t even make him an offer, and indicate they are content with their current crop of terrible catchers.

3. After the Arod hip surgery announcement, the Yankees allow Eric Chavez to sign with Arizona at a discounted rate of $3 million. They reportedly don’t even make him an offer, and later spend $9 million more on Kevin Youkilis ($12 million total).

4. The Yankees then decide to break their 1-year deal mandate and guarantee 2014 payroll for a 39-year old OF who has been the 7th-least productive hitter in all of baseball over the last 2 seasons (.277/.308/.361, 84 wRC+).

Fortunately, Ichiro derives lots of his value from his baserunning and great defense. He was still worth over 2.5 wins last season even though he hit like a female for most of the year. Between Brett Gardner and Ichiro, opposing offenses might want to aim their bats towards Sir Derek or everyone’s favorite bad player, Eduardo Nunez — because hitting it to the outfield is going to be a bad idea.

In addition, if he can provide a semblance of his post-trade small-sample-sized hitting success, this contract certainly wouldn’t be bad. In fact, the dollar terms of this deal are probably right where they should be. It’s an OK contract.

However, there is a bigger point to be made here.

If the front office was going to make an exception and give a multi-year deal to a declining 39-year old Ichiro, why in the world did they let Chavez and Martin (especially) sign cost-efficient deals elsewhere, when they both play positions the Yankees badly need? Makes no sense….

…unless if you realize what this ownership group is all about.

It’s been speculated that the powers-that-be were interested in seeing Ichiro achieve 3,000 hits while in pinstripes, and he’s currently 394 hits away from that mark. And while we’re only guessing, we would bet that the main reason behind the Yankees making an exception for Ichiro is the revenue ownership believes they could make off any 3,000 hit hoopla.

Why else would they allocate 2014 payroll to someone who will be 40 years old, but pass on anyone else who requires more than one year?