Thursday the Seattle Mariners and Ichiro Suzuki announced that the 44-year-old will be moving to the front office as a special assistant to the chairman.
This allows Ichiro to still be a member of the organization, sharing the knowledge he has accrued over 17 MLB seasons with the team, and acting as a mentor to the clubhouse. The move also allows the 10-time all-star to possibly play next season.
“We want to make sure we capture all of the value that Ichiro brings to this team off the field. This new role is a way to accomplish that. While it will evolve over time, the key is that Ichiro’s presence in our clubhouse and with our players and staff improves our opportunity to win games. That is our No. 1 priority and Ichiro’s No. 1 priority,” general manager Jerry Dipoto released in a statement.
While many believe this is Ichiro effectively saying goodbye to baseball as a player, his manager John Boggs confirmed that is not the intention.
“Seattle is where he wants to be and where he’s most comfortable. He’s very appreciative of them bringing him back. This was the most creative way to keep him within the organization and still give him and opportunity to play if that’s what happens in 2019. At this point he does not intend to retire. Obviously, he will not be playing in 2018. But 2019 has yet to evolve,” Boggs told ESPN.
The Mariners have called up RHP Erik Goeddel from Triple-A Tacoma to fill the empty roster spot with Ichiro moving to the front office. If this is the final bow for the 2001 AL MVP, he claims the 22nd spot on the all-time MLB hits list with 3,089.
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