Ichiro To Sign With Seattle Mariners

Ichiro To Sign With Seattle Mariners

The Mariners announced on Monday that Ben Gamel will miss four to six weeks with an oblique injury, jeopardizing his availability for Opening Day.

The Mariners' outfield has been decimated by injuries. Ichiro has been working out in Japan and was expected to play there in 2018 unless he had an offer from Major League Baseball. Heredia recently made his spring debut and has had a couple of at-bats, but he's more of a depth piece and fourth outfielder than an everyday option (though he could handle left field on a short-term basis with Gamel out).

The one healthy veteran outfielder is newcomer Dee Gordon, a career second baseman who is in center field for the first time.

With the Mariners, a franchise that rightfully sees him as one of their icons, he just might get that chance.

But now, it appears that the 44-year-old free agent, who has been out of a job along with many other familiar faces, is nearing a deal to return to the Seattle Mariners, where he played for twelve years.

Having traded away most of their MLB-ready prospects, the Mariners farm system does not have an obvious candidate for a promotion. He has stated that he wants to play until he's 50, which doesn't look out of the realm of possibility. The future Hall of Famer has 3,080 hits over his 17-year major league career. He was both American League MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001.

Ichiro, 44, is understood to be finalizing a contract with the Mariners, with whom he previously played for almost 12 years.