Another year of losing and frustration at Safeco Field could mean the end of a very long and productive baseball career. Could this be the end for Ichiro Suzuki?

 

After a nine year career in Japan, and now in his twelfth season in America, Ichiro Suzuki is watching yet again another losing season in Seattle. On one hand, it seems like yesterday that it was 2001, and Ichiro was on his way to a Rookie of the Year and MVP season as the Mariners were winning 116 games. But at the same time, it was a long time ago.

Could this be Ichiro’s last major league season?

Geoff Baker wrote in the Seattle Times:

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the Ichiro situation the past several weeks, largely because I feel uncomfortable with some of the negative fan sentiment I see brewing towards him as well as the tone of some of the on-air interviews I’ve conducted in regards to the leadoff hitter question this season.

When people ask me about the team’s leadoff situation, it’s tough not to get fired up and note that almost no baseball team will ever instill a guy hitting just about .300 or lower in terms of on-base-percentage into the leadoff position in June at the expense of a better hitter. That’s what the Mariners did back on June 1 when .305 OBP Ichiro replaced Dustin Ackley, who was posting a .358 OBP clip as a fulltime leadoff guy to that point.

The Mariners later admitted their plan had failed and moved Ichiro out of the leadoff spot again.

On a ballclub that is looking for youth and is constantly rebuilding, does Ichiro have a future? now 38 and showing some wear, Ichiro has a year left on his contract.  One guess is that he will retire after this season. Other than a World Series championship, he has nothing left to prove. He is a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer.

What are your thoughts? Leave us a comment.

Read Geoff Baker’s full column here.