This coming spring may be the final time Ichiro Suzuki will be suiting up with the Mariners. I say maybe only because the Mariners might end up playing another series in Japan next year. We can’t rule out the Mariners playing in Japan again next season.
The Mariners signed Ichiro to a minor league deal. They expect him to be active when the team travels to Japan in March for an exhibition series against Yomuiri Giants and then their regular season opener against The Oakland Athletics. The Mariners are set to announce the deal today. It sounds like they will also be extending an invite to spring training.
Last season the ten-time All-Star retired from active duty to take a much more lucrative front office role with the team. In the couple months he played with the Mariners last season, he hit .205 and looked like a shell of the former great that he once was. In May the team offered him a chance to become part of the front office. And Ichiro decided it would be best for all parties that he do so. He still serves as the special assistant to the chairman for the organization.
Ichiro stands as one of all the time Mariner greats. He batted .331 with over 200 hits in each of his All-Star seasons with the team. After his tenure with the Mariners, he played a few seasons with both the Yankees and Marlins.
It would be great to see Ichiro finish this out on a high note. As a Japanese legend, it might not be shocking to see a Giants pitcher give him an easy he can take yard. I know, as fans, we’d all like to see Ichiro finish out his playing career on a high. Most of us will not remember him hitting near the Mendoza line last season. We’ll remember the 2001 season. We’ll remember those 2000 plus hits he had in Seattle. Ichiro continued the long line of great baseball in the PNW starting back in 1995. Sadly, he only made the postseason once with the Mariners. That’s still one time more than Felix Hernandez.
Welcome back to the field and clay Ichiro. We look forward to seeing you play a few more games in a Mariner uniform.