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Photo: MLB

#51

OF

Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki

Height: 5'11"    Weight: 175

Bats/Throws: Left / Right

Born: 10/22/1973 in Kasugai, Japan

Offseason home: Kobe, Japan

Family: Wife Yumiko

Acquired: Signed as a free agent (03/07/2018)

MLB Debut: 04/02/2001

Free Agent after: 2019 season

Is this the end of the road for Ichiro? The franchise icon desperately hopes not, but a meager spring training (2-for-25, nine strikeouts in Cactus League games) doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that he'll still be with the team when they return from his native Japan. Now 45, Ichiro is not ready to hang up his spikes, and if there ever was a player that could keep it going in his late forties, you'd think it would be Ichiro. He keeps himself in tip-top condition and eats, sleeps, and lives baseball year-round. And yet, after a truncated return to Seattle last year that saw him slash just .205/.255/.205 in 15 games (too small a sample size? He was 4-for-8 with three walks against lefties), most observers assume the future Hall of Famer will be cut from the roster after Tokyo.

Anything is possible, of course, and if there was a year in which the team could carry a subpar bat on the bench all season it would be this one. But we have to be realistic: 45 is well past the typical Major Leaguer's retirement age and even the great Ichiro can't play forever. It would've been nice to see him get more at-bats in spring games, for the club to give him a chance to find a rhythm that he wasn't given in 2018, either in spring training or the regular season, before the opener. But since that didn't happen, it may well be that we've seen the last of Ichiro Suzuki on the field in Seattle. However it happens, though, let's hope Ichiro goes out with a bang...or at least an infield hit.

TH, 3/18/19