Could this be the end of Ichiro Suzuki’s career? If sources are to be believed, then the 44-year old will not play for the rest of the season, and possibly the rest of his career. In Seattle, just three hours before the first pitch of the night, he was joining in the Mariners outfield in uniform, prepping up his game. However, he wasn’t in the playing lineup. In fact, he isn’t in any game in this season, which could mean a rather lackluster end for his career.
Talking to the media, he said, “The past two months have been the happiest I’ve been. I knew one day that the day would come when I would have to walk away. But the Mariners have given me this opportunity to stay on. Obviously, with my teammates and how great they’ve been and how much they mean to me and how much I want to help is the reason I wanted to stay on and help in any way I can.”
On Thursday, the Mariners announced that he will be shifting to a front-office role, working as a special assistant to the chairman. This means that he won’t be sitting behind the desk but will be actively participating in the clubhouse, going through pregame workouts and participating in batting practice. He has done the same in the past 18 seasons, but this time, he won’t be playing a game. His role will mostly likely be that of a player-coach.
Scott Servais, team manager said that Suzuki’s role will be transformed over time and he will likely be helping the manager with outfield defense, hitting and baserunning. Servais said that he wants his growth to eb as organic as possible and see where he fits in. He said that he is looking forward to meeting him, sitting down with him and let this new relationship grow. He also mentioned that as he is not in the playing team anymore, it would be helpful to have him around and learn from his experience, which could prove to be very useful during the game too.
This is a unique circumstance to have Suzuki in. He is thrilled about his new role too and said that nothing will be changing for him as a player. He will continue to train like he always has and suggests that he will not be like like Bobby Valentine, putting on glasses and a beard, sitting in the dugout. He also hinted that he won’t be retiring from the game. The terms in this new agreement suggest that he will not be playing for 2018 season. However, John Boggs said that 2019 is yet to play out. Note that the Mariners have officially released Suzuki form their 25-man and 40-man rosters to bring pitcher Erik Goeddel in.
Does that mean that he will be playing for the team in his mid-40s? Possibly. The status of his future in the team is not yet clear and we will have to wait for this season to mature to see how he fits into this new, poorly-defined role.