If Ichiro Suzuki Doesn't Get A Major League Deal, He Could Head Back To Japan To Continue His Professional Career

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics

I wrote a whole paragraph trying to compare Ichiro Suzuki to Tom Brady in the sense that they’ll both play into their 60’s if they could, and then any attempt to compare them beyond that point just wasn’t happening, so I deleted it and this is the new open to the blog. Ichiro, at this stage of his career, is more like the MLB version of Jaromir Jagr. That’s way more realistic of a comparison if we’re going for the no doubt, future Hall of Famers who are more than just nostalgia acts in their mid-40’s. While Jagr is still employed by an NHL team, Ichiro isn’t having much luck finding a new MLB team and could return to Japan because of it.

The Major League Baseball career of Ichiro Suzuki may be fading to black, the video term for the end of a production or show.

At 44 years old, Ichiro has been pitched this offseason to most of the 30 Major League teams, thus far without any success. Spring Training is less than a month away. The lefty-swinging hitter with 3,080 career big league knocks wants to continue playing baseball, and if he isn’t able to do so here, he may finish his iconic career in Japan where it all began, said his San Diego-based agent, John Boggs.

“I don’t really like to think about that,” Boggs told on Tuesday morning. “As every day goes by, I keep holding out hope that somebody will realize that he would be a tremendous asset for any organization.”

What a weird first sentence. Just in case you didn’t know, “fading to black” is a term that folks in the video industry use to describe the end a production or a show. Okay, let’s keep it rolling with the Ichiro blog. Just in case you didn’t know, “keep it rolling” is a commonly-used term used to describe the process of continuation.

I honestly believe that Ichiro will play for as long as teams continue to offer him professional contracts, whether that’s at the major league level or in Japan. He actually said before last season that he wants to play until he’s 50, and then when the day comes that he has to retire, he said, “I think I’ll just die.” A true baseball guy through and through. He’s a goddamn baseball robot that will self destruct like an Inspector Gadget message if he’s unable to shag flies and hit cage bombs at the very least.

I just can’t see a scenario where he’ll ever get tired of playing, competing or training to stay in shape in order to play. When Ichiro’s career is over, that will have meant that no professional teams on planet earth offered him a contract. I’m sure there are plenty of fans out there who wish that their favorite players went out on top, but that’s really no longer possible for Ichiro, who is now 44 years old, and hasn’t been worth two wins or more since 2010. That being said, WAR isn’t the end all be all as it pertains to determining a player’s value. Ichiro has averaged 144 games over the last four seasons since turning 40, so there’s certainly an element of value in that regard.

However, I wouldn’t go back to Japan just yet if I’m Ichiro. This has been one of the most painfully slow offseasons of all-time, so the lack of a contract in hand might have less to do with teams believing in Ichiro’s ability to provide said value versus teams just being focused on higher priority targets. If you’re the Mariners, you’ve gotta throw him a one-year deal, right? They’re gonna be a sub-.500 team in 2018. Why not? Even if he does go back to Japan after NEXT year, it would be cool to see Ichiro say goodbye to MLB fans back where it all started.