Seattle Mariners reportedly ink Ichiro to Minor League deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 25: Special assistant to the Chairman Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners participates in batting practice prior to a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 25, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 25: Special assistant to the Chairman Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners participates in batting practice prior to a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 25, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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From the news of one Mariner’s Hall of Fame selection to another whose place in Cooperstown is all but sealed.

Per Jon Becker of Roster Resource, Ichiro Suzuki signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners early Tuesday evening. This comes as no surprise, as Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto has previously stated that Ichiro would likely be a part of the team’s expanded 28-man roster when they open the regular season versus the Athletics in Tokyo, Japan March 20-21.

Because he signed a Minor League deal, the 45-year-old Ichiro will not take up a spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster. This gives the M’s more flexibility moving forward until they head off to Japan, where they will officially activate the future Hall of Famer.

Those two games against Oakland will likely be the last MLB appearances of Ichiro’s career, 18 years removed from his North American debut, also against the A’s.

Ichiro was brought back to Seattle prior to the 2018 season after playing five-and-a-half seasons with the Yankees and Marlins. He played in 15 games, slashing .205/.255/.205 before electing to take an advisory role within the Mariners’ front office.

Despite unofficially retiring, Ichiro remained a presence within the Mariners’ dugout and served as a mentor for numerous young players on their roster. This will likely be the role Ichiro reverts back to following the Tokyo Series.

Though no official word has come down about the matter, it should be a given that Ichiro’s deal will include an invite to Spring Training, likely giving Mariners fans one last chance to see the legend up close and in action.

Next. Edgar Martínez elected to Hall of Fame. dark

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