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Ichiro Suzuki Is NOT Retiring, But Will Move To The Mariners Front Office For The Rest Of The Year

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners

This sounds like a confusing process to me. Both the Seattle Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki have acknowledged that the 44-year-old future Hall of Famer will not continue playing baseball for the Mariners this season, and that he will be moving to their front office. It’s important to note that they do not use the word “retire” in any of their statements, and Ichiro’s agent has made it clear that his client has not officially retired from playing baseball.

Knowing Ichiro, this is a man who said that he wants to play baseball until he’s 50 years old and then when it comes time to retire that he thinks he’ll “just die”. That being said, my best guess is that he’s keeping the door open for either a return to Japan this year, or that by moving to the front office for the remainder of 2018, he can avoid being DFA’d, traded, optioned or released while the Mariners are actually pretty good this season. This allows him to return for the Hollywood ending next season.

What Hollywood ending? The Mariners open their 2019 season against the Oakland A’s in Japan. By switching to a front office role this year, Ichiro avoids any awkwardness between himself and the Mariners organization in terms of them needing his roster spot for someone more productive. We’ve seen players sign one-day contracts to retire with the teams that they were most known for playing with, so perhaps Ichiro signs a three-day contract for 2019, plays those games in Japan to start next year and then retires a Mariner in his home country of Japan.

Yeah, it’s somewhat of an inconvenience to your roster to start the year, but Ichiro is one of the very few active players who are worth the brief inconvenience.