DENVER, CO - MAY 18: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners singles to center field during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Mariners defeated the Rockies 4-0. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Ichiro will turn 39 in the fall. Could he really be considering retirement?
Ichiro Suzuki is an icon for Seattle Mariners fans. Now in his 12th season with the club, Ichiro has never missed more than 16 games in a season. A career batting average of .325 is among the best in baseball history, and he will surpass 2,500 hits in the next month or so. A stellar base runner and fielder, his value goes far beyond just what he does at the plate.
It seems unlikely at this point, but according to national baseball writer Nick Cafardo, retirement may be an option for Ichiro.
One of the big topics of conversation in the Northwest is whither Ichiro after this season? He is in the final year of his contract, and there's some reason to believe retirement is a possibility. Those who know him don't believe he wants to play for anyone but Seattle. Manager Eric Wedge would like more production from Ichiro in the No. 3 hole. "He's the one veteran guy that we consistently have in the lineup that we need to produce for us,'' said Wedge.
I really don't buy the 'rumors' -- if you can even call them that -- and Ichiro doesn't seem like someone contemplating retirement. He has struggled a bit this season (.281 batting average, .687 OPS) and has lost a step to his game, but he still produces and is a valuable commodity in the field.
This really does just seem like speculation from Cafardo, who has been known to do his fair share of random speculating over the years, but it will definitely be a story over the summer to keep an eye on.
What do you think? Could Ichiro really call it quits after the 2012 season?
To discuss this and more, head on over to our Mariners blog, Lookout Landing.