Ichiro, the true hit king, has played his final major-league game—probably.
The Mariners announced Thursday that Ichiro is “transitioning to the role of Special Assistant to the Chairman,” an extremely pleasant way of saying his time on the field is done. The 44-year-old outfielder will be replaced on the 25-player roster by pitcher Erik Goeddel, who was promoted from Seattle’s Triple-A team in Tacoma.
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said in a statement that the team doesn’t plan “to change anything that he’s doing right now, with the exception that he will not be playing in games.” According to his agent, John Boggs, “he is not retiring. He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve.” This is, presumably, because Ichiro is a man of his word and isn’t quite ready to kick the bucket yet.
When asked whether Ichiro would play during the Mariners’ season opener in Japan next year, Boggs responded, “There is always that possibility ... The future has yet to be determined.”
It’s true: The future has not yet happened.