Ichiro Suzuki set to return to Mariners on major-league contract

Seattle is thin on outfield depth on the 40-man roster at the moment - particularly with Guillermo Heredia still on the mend from October shoulder surgery.

Ichiro Suzuki has said on numerous occasions that he would like to continue playing baseball until he's 50. The report comes on the same day after it was reported that Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel will miss 4-6 weeks with a strained oblique muscle. He is also the first position player from Japan to sign with a major league club. New ownership decided not to exercise his $2 million option for 2018 and instead gave him a $500,000 buyout. After 11 full seasons with the Mariners during which time he became a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove victor, Suzuki joined the New York Yankees in a midseason trade.

In his first 10 seasons, he accumulated at least 200 hits each year, including an all-time single-season record of 262 in 2004. The future Hall of Famer has 3,080 hits over his 17-year major league career.

Ichiro was the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year in his first season with the Mariners.

Ichiro may not have much left in the tank - he hit only.255/.318/.332 in 2017 - but he's healthy and still wants to play in the bigs.

But now, it appears that the 44-year-old free agent, who has been out of a job along with many other familiar faces, is nearing a deal to return to the Seattle Mariners, where he played for twelve years. The Mariners dealt him to the Yankees in the middle of the 2012 season.

  • Steve Townsend