Ichiro Suzuki is a fan favorite in American League and National League ballparks across Major League Baseball, from Seattle, where he began his career, to Miami, where he last played in 2017.
But now, it appears that the 44-year-old free agent, who has been out of a job along with many other familiar faces, is nearing a deal to return to the Seattle Mariners, where he played for twelve years.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 5, 2018
In Seattle, outfielders are hard to come by, especially after the recent injury to left-fielder Ben Gamel, who projects to be out four to six weeks. Gamel joins right-fielder Mitch Haniger (hand) and fourth outfielder Guillermo Heredia (shoulder) on the sidelines.
A 10-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and 2001 AL Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, Ichiro is more than the sum of his accolades, only a few of which are mentioned here.
In 2017, he posted a .255/.218/.332 slash line in 136 games as a utility outfielder with Miami Marlins. It was a record-setting season for Ichiro:
— May 23: scored his 1,400th run;
— June 14: passed Derek Jeter to become the all-time leader in interleague hits;
— June 29: became the oldest active MLB player;
— July 6: passed Rod Carew as the all-time leader in MLB hits among foreign-born players with 3,054;
— Aug 26: set the Marlins single-season pinch hitting record with 22;
— Sept 9: set MLB record for most pinch hit at-bats in a season with 84.
Ichiro is a truly unique talent with a personal style and work ethic that has been an inspiration to players across MLB, and he is virtually a lock to be a Hall of Famer one day.
A reunion with the Mariners would bring Ichiro’s career full circle and would be a fitting place for achieving even further milestones in his career. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the deal should be completed in the coming day or two.