Ichiro Suzuki to Be Included on Mariners Roster for 2019 Japan Series

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2018

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 8: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners jogs off the field after the ceremonial first pitch before a game against the New York Yankees  at Safeco Field on September 8, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Yankees won 4-2. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki will be part of the Seattle Mariners' active roster when the team plays the Oakland Athletics in Japan, MLB.com's Greg Johns reported Tuesday.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said the team will "presumably" only include Ichiro on the squad for the two-game Japan Series. Seattle and Oakland are allowed 28 players on the active roster for the series, compared to the 25-man limit for normal regular-season games.

Ichiro played 15 games for the Mariners in 2018, his last appearance coming in the team's 3-2 defeat to the A's on May 2. A day later, Seattle agreed to a special arrangement with the 44-year-old in which he unofficially remained a member of the team without counting as an active player.

His agent told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal in May he wasn't officially retiring and that playing in the Japan Series remained an option. Dipoto told reporters Tuesday the team is planning on having him at spring training as well, per Johns:

"Ichi will be in spring training with us, and we're going to give him an opportunity as both a coaching presence and a player presence. We're still a long way off from Opening Day next year, but you will see Ichiro taking at-bats in Peoria, and we'll assess where we are at that time. But don't be surprised if you see him running around out there when we get to Tokyo next year early in the season."

Having Ichiro play in Japan would be a nice moment. Beyond that, it's hard to see how he could maintain an on-field role with the Mariners.

In his 18th season, he batted .205 before Seattle shut him down for the year. As a member of the Miami Marlins in 2017, he had a .255/.318/.332 slash line and was worth minus-0.1 WAR, per FanGraphs.

The Japan Series could at least give fans one more opportunity to see Ichiro in a Mariners jersey before he calls it a career.

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