It appears that Ichiro Suzuki is coming home to the Mariners.
With Monday’s announcement that Ben Gamel has a strained oblique and will miss 4-6 weeks, the Mariners need outfield help. Plenty of outfielders are available on the open market, but Seattle seems set on a reunion with one of the organization’s most productive and recognizable players.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and multiple outlets in Japan earlier reported that the Mariners will bring back the 44-year-old Ichiro, a fan favorite. A baseball source confirmed the report that an agreement has been reached pending a physical. An official announcement would follow. Ichiro is in the U.S. already so it could happen in the coming days. The Mariners have declined to comment on the situation.
He played for the Mariners from 2001-12, during which he was a 10-time All-Star selection and won 10 Gold Gloves. He was the 2001 American League MVP and Rookie of the Year, and in 2004 he set the major-league season record for hits with 262.
He played in 136 games for the Miami Marlins last season, predominantly as a pinch-hitter. He hit .255 (50 for 196) with a .318 on-base percentage, .322 slugging percentage, six doubles, three homers and 20 RBI. He has a good relationship with current Mariners and former Marlins teammates Dee Gordon and David Phelps.
For his career, Ichiro is a .312 hitter with 3,080 hits and 509 steals. He is the Mariners’ career leader in batting average (.322), hits (2,533) and steals (438) and is second in runs scored (1,176).