Ichiro Suzuki, one of the most freakishly talented and enigmatic players in baseball history, ended his season-and potentially his major-league playing career-in the most Ichiro of ways: shrouded in an aura of mystery.
Godspeed in your new role, Ichiro.
There was no mention of the word retirement in the press release from the Mariners.
Even though he wasn't the Ichiro of old this year, he did have a few great moments this season. At times, it was easy to get the sense that Ichiro could do practically anything he wanted on a baseball field, and that what he wanted to do was collect tons of hits and play spectacular defense and run the bases well.
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That was just part of it, obviously, as Ichiro was a megastar in Japan before coming to the United States, leading the Orix Blue Wave for nine seasons. And Ichiro appears to have no intention of retiring.
Assuming no early 2019 gimmickry, this is about the most graceful way Ichiro and the team could've handled matters, because it's clear that he is no longer capable of playing up to his lofty standards.
Among every player in Major League Baseball history, here are the ones with at least 3,000 hits and 500 steals: Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, Lou Brock, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins and Ichiro.
Right-handed pitcher Erik Goeddel has been selected from AAA Tacoma to fill his spot on the 25-man roster. The plan is for him to continue to have an active presence with the Mariners both at home and on the road.
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The agreement only covers the 2018 season, but Dipoto said he hopes the Japanese legend remains with the franchise for the long-term. He led the Majors in hits seven times, and his 262 knocks in 2004 broke an 84-year-old record held by George Sisler. "He's taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve".
If this is it, he'll finish 22nd on the all-time hits list with 3,089, a remarkable total given he didn't come over from Japan until he was 27.
George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns had 257 hits for the St. Louis Browns in 1920, setting a major league record. Suzuki earned the 2001 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP with the Mariners and won a pair of AL batting titles.
Of course, it's possible that Ichiro has played his last game in the big leagues. This comes on the heels of a season in which he hit.255/.318/.332 for the Marlins. By Fangraphs' baserunning runs, he added 95.6 runs with his legs - the most of any player since 2000, and third best in history behind only Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines.
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For Mariners fans, instead of a joyous return, it brought back memories of Ken Griffey Jr.'s finale. He played his final game Wednesday night, a 3-2 loss to Oakland - a game in which James Paxton had 16 strikeouts before leaving the game after 7 innings holding a 2-0 lead.