Ichiro Suzuki Agrees to Mariners Contract After 3 Seasons with Marlins

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 7, 2018

Miami Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki runs to first as he grounds out during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Miami. The Marlins won 10-2. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Ichiro Suzuki is extending his Major League Baseball by going back to where it started after agreeing to a deal with the Seattle Mariners

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto announced an agreement with Suzuki on Wednesday, via the team's public relations blog:

"The addition of Ichiro gives our team another versatile and athletic outfielder. His incredible work ethic, preparation and focus will enhance our environment in many ways. He's truly one of the great players in the history of the game and his unquestionable presence is a valuable addition, both on the field and in the clubhouse. We’re very glad to bring him back home."

Suzuki was relegated mostly to pinch-hitting duty with the Miami Marlins last season. The 44-year-old hit .255/.318/.332 with nine extra-base hits in 196 at-bats. 

Despite only seeing part-time duty in 2017, Suzuki has said he wants to keep playing at least until he's 50 years old. 

"I didn't think about any of this when I was 20, but gradually, the more I've played, this is something I've wanted," he told reporters through an interpreter in September. 

One reason Suzuki believes he should be able to remain a capable big leaguer at such an advanced age is his approach to taking care of himself physically: 

"Everybody is different, but I've seen a lot of players that when they get outside of their normal balance that their body can take, that's when usually they get hurt. I've seen that a lot. So I think that's a big point that I've been able to use my body, and obviously, it isn't as if I haven't been hurt. I've been hurt. But I still know what my body can take."

The Seattle Times shared images of Ichiro 17 years apart:

He's no longer the dynamic hitter and fielder who was a 10-time MLB All-Star from 2001-10, and Suzuki is an unusual hitter at this point in his career. He boasts massive reverse platoon splits, hitting .340/.392/.404 in 47 at-bats against left-handed pitching, compared to a .228/.294/.309 slash line against right-handed pitching in 2017. 

The Mariners will be able to take advantage of Suzuki's natural ability to make contact, either by using him as a pinch-hitting specialist or a fourth outfielder who can come off the bench and play all three positions. 

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