The team is so interested in fact that they are ready to offer the 41 year-old a two-year contract. Frisaro writes that talks between the two sides are “progressing.”
On the surface, it seems a bit out there to sign a player that age to a multi-year deal. But this is the ageless Ichiro. He has played 14 big league seasons on top of nine seasons in Japan dating back to 1992. For his career Ichiro has amassed 4,122 hits, with 2,884 of them coming stateside with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
Of course a two-year deal would give Ichiro a chance at 3,000 career MLB hits, and the Marlins would love for him to reach the milestone with them.
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Ichiro is a career .317 hitter in MLB and would be a great left handed bat off the bench. He can play all three outfield positions and would complement the Marlins starting outfield trio of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton nicely. Last year with the Yankees he hit .284/.324/.340 with a home run and 15 stolen bases across 385 plate appearances. Suzuki was still worth almost a full win in basically a half-season’s worth of PA.
Last season, the Marlins employed Reed Johnson as their fourth outfielder. We all remember how that turned out. Ichiro would represent a huge upgrade over Johnson’s paltry .235/.266/.348 line.
It’s unclear how much a two-year deal would cost the Marlins. Suzuki made $6.5 million each of the last two seasons with the Yankees, but should demand much less at this juncture of his career in a part-time role.
The 2001 American League MVP probably only has a couple playing years left, if that. With the Marlins in position to contend for the next few years, there are worse places for Ichiro to retire than sunny South Beach.