Mariners Looking to Past Great Ichiro to Bolster Their Offense
Source: Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) via Facebook.
It appears as though the Mariners have gone for one of the old superstars to add some extra strike power with the bat. Ichiro Suzuki, who played for Seattle from 2001 through to 2012, looks set to return to the franchise in a move that would surely bolster their batting lineup. If the deal goes through, it would have to be a Major League contract, meaning the organization would have to open up a spot on their 40-man roster by making a move somewhere else.
It's no secret that the Mariners have some major injury concerns in their outfield, with three of their best four suffering from ongoing issues. Ichiro would certainly be a welcome sight as a backup for the team, and, even at the ripe age of 44, he played 136 games for the Miami Marlins last season as a reserve. On top of that he posted a .225/.318/.332 line, including three homers. He also managed 20 RBIs and a stolen base from his 215 appearances at the plate.
The slugger from Japan is a fan favorite at Safeco Field and had an illustrious career during his time with the franchise. In his 11 and a half seasons at the club, he won ten Golden Gloves and earned himself ten American League All-Star bids. In 2012 he left to join the Yankees, where he spent two and a half years before being traded to the Miami Marlins for the past three seasons.
Source: Paul Anthony Caumeran via Facebook.
His impressive career batting average of .312 and 3,080 hits would be a huge boost to Seattle, not to mention the experience he brings to the younger players in the squad. Seattle will be looking to break their postseason hoodoo this year and bringing back players like Ichiro is definitely a step in the right direction. Currently the Mariners are +900 to win the MLB AL West Division according to MLB betting on bet365, but will have tough competition from the Los Angeles Angels who are +375. Last season's champions, the Houston Astros, look to have the first placed position sewn up at -225, so a push for second would be the realistic goal for the organization.
With left fielder Ben Gamel out for a at least a few weeks and Mitch Haniger yet to play this spring, it seems like the perfect time to sign such a reliable and competent replacement such as Ichiro. Also, the club's fourth outfielder, Guillermo Heredia, is only just coming back from shoulder surgery and could take a little while to get back to full fitness.
This isn't the first time the Mariners have decided to bring back one of their old stars. In 2009 the club brought back one of their biggest names in franchise history when they signed a 39-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. During his first season back he hit .214 with 19 home runs, and 57 RBIs in his 117 appearances. However, his stint back with the franchise was short lived and he left halfway through his next season after batting just .184 from his 33 games.
With Ichiro's outstanding record and undiminished skill set there is no question that he would be a great asset for the Mariners. Let's hope he can be as powerful a batter as he was when playing for the club the first time and smash Seattle right into the playoffs next season.