The Yankees also received cash in the deal that sent right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners. Both 25-year-old players will report to the Tacoma Rainiers.
The trade was prompted by a request from 38-year-old Suzuki himself, according to team CEO Howard Lincoln.
"Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his long time agent, Tony Attanasio, approached Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him," said Lincoln. "Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop."
The 38-year-old Suzuki had spent his whole big league career with Seattle. The 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner is batting .261 with four home runs, 28 RBIs and 15 stolen bases this year.
"Ichiro will be missed. He owns a long list of Major League Baseball and Mariners club records, has earned many prestigious awards, and in my opinion, he will someday be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame," said Lincoln.
The only thing missing on Suzuki's resume is an appearance in the World Series, and he may get a chance with the Yankees. Suzuki was the AL MVP and rookie of the year in 2001 after a stellar career in Japan, and the Mariners reached the AL championship series that season before losing to the Yankees. Seattle has not been back to the playoffs since then.
At a news conference, Suzuki recounted his past 11 years with the Mariners with misty eyes.
"When I think about taking off the Mariners uniform, I was overcome with sadness," he said with the help of a translator. "I will be moving on with pride on acount of the last 11 1/2 years I spent with the Mariners."
The announcement came on Monday afternoon as the team prepared to face off against the Yankees in a series opener at Safeco Field. Suzuki will play for the Yankees against the Mariners.
When asked how he felt about having to face his former team in his first game as a Yankee, Suzuki grew tearful.
"It'll be hard for me to tell until I step onto that field," he said.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said Suzuki will primarily play left field for his team.
The Yankees made the trade a few days after learning that speedy outfielder Brett Gardner would likely miss the rest of the season because of an elbow problem, and manager Joe Girardi said Suzuki will mostly play left field.
"We're very excited with the caliber of player we are getting. We feel that he brings the speed element. He's a tremendous hitter. That speed element is what we lost when Gardy had surgery," Girardi said. "So this is a big day for us."
Suzuki was given No. 31 because the number he wore his entire career with the Mariners, No. 51, has not been worn since four-time World Series champion Bernie Williams last played.
"No. 51 is a special number to me, but when I think about what 51 means to the Yankees, it's hard for me to ask for that number."
The Yankees certainly hope this trade with the Mariners works out better than the last big deal between the teams. New York sent prized young catcher Jesus Montero to Seattle before the season for All-Star pitcher Michael Pineda, who was later injured and is out for the year.
Mitchell made his major league debut this season and pitched four games for the Yankees. Farquhar made his big league debut last year with Toronto and was claimed last month on waivers by the Yankees from Oakland.