After spending the 2015 season playing for the Miami Marlins, Ichiro Suzuki has decided to stay in South Florida and re-sign with the Marlins for the 2016 season.
Ichiro, 41, is coming off of his worst professional season as he hit just .229 with one home run and a .561 OPS in 153 games played this season. He did, however, pound out 91 hits, bringing him closer to a big milestone. He turns 42 later this month on October 22.
Ichiro’s career has steeply declined in the past five seasons, which he has spent with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Marlins. In those five seasons, Ichiro hasn’t been above a .700 OPS and has hit a combined .268.
While Ichiro’s pitching career might be on the upswing after his first appearance on the hill on Sunday versus the Philadelphia Phillies, one likely reason why he is continuing his career is because he is just 65 hits away from 3,000. He reached 4,000 hits in his professional career, which includes both Japan and MLB, but he hasn’t eclipsed the 3,000 hit club in the Majors quite yet. Ichiro is currently tied for 33rd on the all-time hit list with 2,935.
Ichiro will most likely serve a backup role in 2016 for the Marlins, but he is a well-liked clubhouse guy and could maybe provide something for this team off of the bench.
When he signed his first deal with the Marlins before the 2015 season, the club was open to bringing him back and there was mutual interest in that.
“Off the field, I’d have to say Ichiro is one of the most interesting players that I’ve personally come across since I’ve been in this game,” Marlins president David Samson said. “Forget his love of the game, the fact that he’s in the best shape of any player I’ve seen at any age. Forget the fact that he’s 41, his desire to play baseball the right way. To be respectful of Major League Baseball, to be respectful for the other players, and the game itself.”
The deal was officially announced by the club Tuesday.