Ichiro Suzuki wanted to return to Miami for the 2017 season. The Marlins made that happen.
The organization announced on Thursday. The outfielder told reporters earlier this season he hoped to play until he was 50 years old. Agreeing to a new deal with Miami will help the 42-year-old get closer to that goal. And taking aim at moving up the record books for all-time hits in the major leagues.
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, for now, the Marlins liked what they saw of Ichiro at age 42, and they're committed to the iconic outfielder for at least another season. Miami on Wednesday announced it is picking up Ichiro's $2 million club option for 2017.
The Marlins took their commitment to Ichiro even further by also adding the same club option for 2018.
"The reason for the option in 2018 is he wants to play until he's 50," Marlins president David Samson said. "He's told me. He's serious. I think he probably will play until he's 50, and that's fine by us."
Icihiro proved to be a valuable asset off the bench and as a starter last season. Injuries to Giancarlo Stanton in both halves of the baseball season and minor injuries to Marcell Ozuna forced Ichiro into the lineup, where he delivered.
Ichiro, who turns 43 on Oct. 22, has found a home in Miami. The 2017 season will be his third with the Marlins, and the mutual interest the two sides have with each other makes it a strong possibility he will retire as a Marlin.
"I think he's ready for more moments, and we wanted to get an option on him for 2018," Samson said. "You never know; after that, we'll worry about 2019."
On August 9 of this year, Suzuki got his 3,000th hit, joining a small fraternity of the best in major league history. He is 24th on the list with 3,030 hits. Rod Carew is next on the list with 3,053 hits.