Ichiro Suzuki’s quest for 3,000 hits will continue with the Marlins.
The Marlins re-signed the future Hall of Fame outfielder on Tuesday to a one-year deal for 2016 worth $2 million in base salary.
“Forget the fact he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and a potential back-of-the-bullpen arm for next year,” said Marlins president David Samson, tongue-in-cheek alluding to Suzuki’s first-ever pitching outing Sunday. “He is someone who comes into the clubhouse and gets immediate respect and results.”
Suzuki, who turns 42 on Oct. 22 and is the oldest position player in the majors, needs 65 hits to reach 3,000. When combining his Japan numbers and those he has put up in the majors, he needs fewer than that to eclipse Pete Rose on the all-time hits list.
“As far as 3,000 hits, we feel the same way Ichiro does,” Samson said. “He’s not in this game to get 3,000 hits. He’s in this game, literally, for the love of the game.”
In his first season with the Marlins, Suzuki — signed as a “fourth outfielder” — ended up playing the most games (153) of anyone on the team due to injuries and demotions.
He finished with a .229 average, the lowest of his career, and tailed off badly toward the end, hitting just .139 in September and October, perhaps from overuse.
“He wasn’t signed to to be our every day right fielder,” said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. “I think because of the injuries, he played probably more than any of us expected him to play. We’ve seen him go through struggles. He bounced back.”
Said Samson: “He would never tell us that he was tired. Do we think he was tired toward the end of the year? He’s human, and you have to be. Everyone was tired. And he played almost every day.”
Suzuki’s contract comes with a $2 million option for 2017, according to Jon Heyman of cbssports.com