Ichiro Suzuki likely to return to Seattle Mariners

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Ichiro spent 12 season with the Mariners.

With Ichiro planning on playing a few more seasons and the Mariners needing outfield depth with Ben Gamel going down with injury, the signing makes ideal sense.

With Monday's announcement that Ben Gamel has a strained oblique and will miss 4-6 weeks, the Mariners need outfield help.

Suzuki, who spent the past three seasons with the Miami Marlins, is getting close to finalizing a one-year major-league deal with the Seattle Mariners, according to a report by USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Seattle has already seen first baseman Ryon Healy (hand), outfielder Mitch Haniger (hand) and pitcher Felix Hernandez (bruised forearm) slowed by injuries during spring training.

Ichiro played in 136 games for the Marlins last season, predominantly as a pinch hitter.

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In November, the Marlins made a decision to declined their $2 million option on Ichiro, making him a free agent.

Having traded away most of their MLB-ready prospects, the Mariners farm system does not have an obvious candidate for a promotion. Past year at Milwaukee he had 26 ABs and hit.115.

Of course, there is an actual baseball reason for the move.

The Mariners could seek a free agent like Jon Jay or Carlos Gonzalez, though would likely offer just a one-year deal.

He would go on to win AL rookie of the year and MVP in 2001, leading Seattle to a record 116-win season. The future Hall of Famer has 3,080 hits over his 17-year major league career.