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The Mariners Are Bringing Ichiro Suzuki Back Home To Seattle On A One-Year Deal

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Yup. This was a thing that needed to happen. Back in January, there were reports that if Ichiro Suzuki did not receive a major league deal that he’d go back to Japan to resume his professional career. At that point, it wasn’t looking too promising for Ichiro, given that the top free agents still didn’t even have a deal — some still don’t — thus putting guys like him on the back burner for teams that were looking to bring in players on major league contracts.

If you’re a baseball fan, then you know that Ichiro can’t go out as a Marlin who can’t find work. He just can’t. He’s one of the greatest hitters of all-time, who captivated the world of baseball the second that he stepped foot on a baseball diamond here in the United States back in 2001, winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP award in the process. It only made sense to bring him home on a one-year deal, which is what I wrote back in January:

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.

I take back the sub-.500 team part. The Mariners might be a .500 team. And now they might be a .500 team that also has one of the most iconic players in their franchise’s history back in a Mariners uniform. Sign me up for Ichiro bobblehead night at Safeco. I am fucking IN for that.

There’s one little problem, though. Actually, I don’t know if it’s necessarily a problem. But Ichiro is on the record as saying that he wants to play until he’s 50, and then when it comes time to retire that he thinks he’ll “just die” like a little baseball robot that gets unplugged when it can’t properly function anymore.

So, Ichiro just signed a deal for his age-44 season. He’s got six more seasons to play after 2018 if he wants to play until he’s 50. And I don’t doubt that he can do it, either. However, I can’t imagine that the nostalgia act will last more than a year in Seattle, which means he’ll probably end up going back to Japan to play at some point anyway. I just feel better knowing that his send off from Major League Baseball will more than likely be in a Seattle Mariners uniform. That’s the way it should be.