The Mariners have brought back Ichiro Suzuki on a one-year deal, as first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The deal, which was announced Wednesday, will reportedly pay $750k and can reach $2 million with incentives.
Though a reunion would’ve seemed unlikely at the beginning of the winter, a series of outfield injuries and the stagnant status of the free-agent market led to a match between the Mariners and one of the best players in team history. Ichiro, who turned 44 last October, spent 12 seasons with Seattle to begin his major-league career, from the beginning of 2001 until he was traded to the Yankees at the 2012 trade deadline.
Seattle will be without Ben Gamel for 4-6 weeks and currently has both Luis Heredia and Mitch Haniger dealing with injuries, so an outfield depth addition is necessary. Though other options are still available on the open market, there’s no one the M’s are as familiar with Ichiro, who hit .255/.318/.332 in 196 plate appearances for the Marlins last season.
For his career, Ichiro owns a .312/.355/.403 line with 117 homers in 17 major-league seasons. He owns 3,080 hits since breaking in with the Mariners in 2001, spending time with the M’s, Yankees and Marlins.