Ichiro Suzuki’s 2018 season is officially over as Suzuki will resume a position in the Seattle Mariners’ front office.
“With Ichiro’s track record of success, his personality, his unique perspective and his work ethic, he is singularly positioned to impact both our younger players and the veterans in the clubhouse,” Mariners’ General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We really don’t want him to change anything that he’s doing right now, with the exception that he will not be playing in games.
“We believe that Ichiro’s signing and his assimilation into our team has helped us this season, and we want to make sure we continue that.”
According to his agent, Ichiro is “Not Retiring” and Suzuki’s agent hinted that Suzuki could be activated for the Seattle Mariners’ opening series in 2019, which will take place in Japan. It would be nice to end an illustrious career where it began, but for now, let’s forget about gimmicks and look at what Ichiro has accomplished in Major League Baseball if he does not return.
The 44-year-old spent his first 11 seasons in the MLB playing for the Mariners, and his accomplishments during that time are nothing short of legendary. Ichiro put up one of the greatest rookie seasons baseball had ever seen in 2001 when he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award and the American League MVP Award. Ichiro also won a pair of batting titles as well as being given 10 All-Star nods. Ichiro was then traded to the New York Yankees (…shocker) midway through the 2012 season.
Ichiro played in parts of three seasons with the New York Yankees before being sent down to Florida where he played in parts of three seasons with the Miami Marlins. Ichiro became a free agent this offseason after a $2 Million club option for 2018 was declined by the rebuilding Marlins. The end seemed to be closing in after Suzuki appeared in just 136 games last year and hit .255 with a .318 on-base percentage, but Suzuki managed to sign a 1-year deal with the Mariners to keep his career alive. In 2018, Ichiro has had an unimpressive .205 batting average (9-44), 3 walks, no extra base hits, and -0.4 WAR.
Despite his recent lack of production, Ichiro has put together one of the greatest Major League careers in history, in which he amassed 3,089 hits with a .311 batting average, 117 home runs, a .355 on-base percentage, and 59.4 WAR. Ichiro is tied with Pete Rose with 10 200-hit seasons and to put into context how impressive his .311 career batting average is, Suzuki has not hit .300+ in a season since 2010.
Ichiro Suzuki came to America to play baseball in 2001 at the age of 27, giving him the latest start of any player to amass 3,000 hits in their career. To put the greatness of this feat into perspective, the second-latest start for a member of the 3,000-hit club was Wade Boggs, who debuted for the Boston Red Sox when he was 23.
Right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel was promoted from Triple-A Tacoma to take Ichiro Suzuki’s spot on the 25-man roster and will be playing as soon as Thursday night’s series finale with the A’s. The Mariners are currently 17-12 and sitting at third place in the stacked AL West Division.
Ichiro’s duties will begin immediately and if this does prove to be the end of Ichiro’s incredible career, Suzuki will be inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown 5-years from now. If this is not the end, the call to the Hall will have to be put on hold for a little while longer.