Ichiro signing with the Marlins is a major milestone in itself, as he’ll be the first Japanese-born player to play for the team in its 22-year history. Suzuki will wear #51 with the Marlins next season.
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To officially introduce Ichiro Suzuki as a Marlin, owner Jeffrey Loria, team president David Samson, President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill and General Manager Dan Jennings will all travel to Tokyo for a Wednesday press conference. The press conference will take place at 10:00 PM EST, or noon Tokyo time on Thursday.
Owner Jeffery Loria is excited to bring Ichiro on board, offering up high praise of the future hall of famer.
"“We are thrilled to have Ichiro Suzuki in a Marlins uniform,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. “He is the ultimate professional, on and off the field, and will make an excellent addition to our ballclub.”"
While Ichiro has always been one of my favorite players to watch since he entered the league, I’m not terribly high on the signing. To me, this is more of a name brand signing than an actual baseball signing.
The 2015 season will be the age-41 season for Ichiro Suzuki and you have to wonder how much he has left at this point. Steamer does not project too well for Ichiro for the upcoming season, projecting him to slash .266/.302/.340 for a .284 wOBA.
Last year, UZR also rated him as a below average outfielder and with another year tacked onto his age, I would not expect that to improve either.
All in all, Ichiro being the Marlins fourth outfielder is not going to kill them. They certainly could done a lot worse (Reed Johnson), but I do believe the team could have done better. To me, trading away Justin Ruggiano last off-season is still a huge mistake, as he’d have been the perfect guy for the role this year and last.
Either way, it’s going to be a joy to see Ichiro in a Marlins uniform for the upcoming season. Just wish it was 2-3 years ago, instead of 2015.
Stay tuned to Marlin Maniac, as we’ll be sure to bring you coverage of the Ichiro Suzuki press conference tomorrow.