If you hadn’t yet heard, Ichiro Suzuki signed this offseason with the Miami Marlins. The 41 year old outfielder has played 14 major league seasons, and all of that time has been spent between the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees. Being a free agent this offseason, he was looking for a new home. What is news however, is that the Twins were a possible destination.
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Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that Paul Molitor shares something in common with Ichiro Suzuki, they both have the same agent. John Boggs, the agent of both parties, would rib Molitor and mention that the new Twins manager should bring in his agent’s client to play outfield for the Twins. At Twins Fest, Molitor said of Boggs, “We kind of had a running thing: ‘Paulie! Ichiro! Come on! I’d say, ‘Sorry, Johnny. I love Ichiro, but he just doesn’t fit in here for us really.”
Molitor noted that while the banter was between him and agent John Boggs, he doesn’t believe Terry Ryan ever pursued the free agent outfielder. With the Twins looking for defensive help, and a bat to boot, Ichiro wasn’t someone they targeted. After signing Torii Hunter for over $10 million, and bringing back Jordan Schafer as a fourth outfielder, the Twins really had no room.
Ichiro and Molitor have worked together previously. Molitor was a hitting coach for the Mariners in 2004. While suffering through a losing season alongside Molitor, Ichiro Suzuki noted that his coach had a “calming presence,” and seemingly took things in stride. Now, Ichiro will be called upon by the Marlins to be a key cog in backing up each outfield position on a young team.
Despite not finding a fit with the Twins, it appears that Ichiro Suzuki and his agent always had an interest in signing with Minnesota. Sitting just 156 hits away from 3,000, that number will now likely come in a Marlins uniform. Although the Twins and Molitor won’t seen Suzuki donning Twins colors this season, they can still cheer for him from afar.
A guy that already had an impressive Japanese career prior to coming to Major League Baseball at the age of 27, has all but entrenched himself firmly into the Hall of Fame discussion at this level as well. The reunion of Molitor and Suzuki isn’t going to happen, but the storybook ending appears to still be on the horizon.