Ichiro Suzuki has been an icon for an entire generation of fans. Every kid who grew up in the early 2000s grew up with the quiet slap-hitting outfielder who’s iconic career was made up mainly of seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
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In the winter of 2015, Ichiro signed on, at age 41, with the Miami Marlins. Ichiro automatically assumed the position of fourth outfielder on the Miami roster and for one of the first times in his career became a utility player.
On Tuesday, the team announced they will bring the outfielder back on another one year contract, for two million dollars.
So why did the Miami Marlins bring a non-productive Ichiro back?
One would say it is to be the team in which Ichiro acquires his 3,000th hit. He’s currently sitting at 2,935 hits at the end of the season.
Another reason would be the leadership he brings to the clubhouse. Ichiro is a smart guy, who’s been around for a long time, he takes care of his body well and has shown he has the longevity to stick around over time.
All things look to add up to Ichiro being a good signing and he is if you want to sell tickets and jerseys.
For the most part, Ichiro is a shell of what he used to be and was a primarily non-productive player for the Marlins in 2015. Ichiro batted .229 and only created 53 runs for the Fish in 153 games. Ichiro was actually a below replacement-level player in 2015 scoring a -0.8 WAR his best year, 2004, he was a seven win player.
That’s the drop from an Ichiro in his prime to the 41-year-old version of Ichiro the Marlins are getting for one more season.
What will the Marlins get?
Well, they’ll get to be the uniform that Ichiro wears when he accumulates his 3,000th hit, but not the uniform Ichiro will be remembered for wearing.
The Japanese media hoard will once again hang around the Marlins clubhouse. But from a logistical and a stand point of having a productive roster the fourth outfield spot should be occupied by somebody else.
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