The Mariners are close to a deal that would bring Ichiro Suzuki back to Seattle in 2018, according to MLB insider Jon Heyman. Ichiro hasn’t played for the Mariners since 2012 after spending the first 12 seasons of his MLB career there. Now, in his 18th season at the age of 44 he will rejoin the Mariners.
Ichiro will get a major league contract and be on the 40 man roster. How much will he actually play, well that depends on a few things. He’s clearly not going to be an everyday player, but he’ll serve in the 4th outfielder role giving guys nights off and filling in for injuries. I’d assume this is basically the Ichiro retirement tour and by bringing him back they’ll be able to sell more tickets.
Ichiro posted a .255 batting average, drove in 20 runs, and had a total of 50 hits in 136 games played last season. Safe to say he won’t be the piece to push the Mariners back to the playoffs for the first time since his rookie year. What a story that would be. The first year Ichiro joins the Mariners he takes them to the playoffs and then the last year of his career he does the same. The odds are super unlikely, however it’d be a dope way to send Ichiro off into the sunset.
I don’t know if Ichiro is ready to hang them up, though. I can see him being the modern day Julio Franco. I’m pretty sure that guy is still playing baseball somewhere. So, even if Ichiro does retire from the MLB after this season, I don’t think it’ll mean he’s retiring from baseball. 5k hits isn’t that far away...