On Thursday afternoon it was announced that Ichiro Suzuki was retiring and moving to a front office role with the Seattle Mariners. A little while later his agent, John Boggs, announced that he was not retiring and was just shifting roles with the club for this year and even hinted at a possible return for next season, which includes a season-opening series in Japan.
Boggs said via Ken Rosenthal, “He’s not retiring. He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 is yet to evolve.”
While the status of Ichiro’s future is up in the air, for the rest of this season he will be an assistant to the GM. The Mariners have stated that they love what he brings to the club, they just won’t be putting him in games any longer.
The Japanese legend returned to the Mariners organization this offseason after not being with the club since the first half of the 2012 season. He was traded to the Yankees and since has also played for the Miami Marlins.
Since rejoining the Mariners this season, the 44-year-old has played in 15 games and hit .205. His struggles at the plate are likely what led management to move him into a front office role.
Ichiro played 18 years in Major League Baseball after coming over from the Japanese League. In his 18 seasons, he hit .311 and had 3,089 hits. He had 1,278 hits in Japan, which added to his hits in America totals 4,367, which is the most ever for a professional baseball player, although the MLB record holder is Pete Rose with 4,256 hits.
In addition to his hitting accolades, Ichiro made 10 All-Star Games and won one MVP, Rookie of the Year, 10 Gold Gloves, two Batting Titles, three Silver Sluggers and one All-Star Game MVP.
Even if this is the end of the list of his accomplishments, it’s not a matter of if he’ll be in the Hall of Fame, but when.