When the Miami Marlins went out and added Ichiro Suzuki to an outfield that already included superstar Giancarlo Stanton and two up-and-coming talents in Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the immediate question related to how Ichiro would function in a bench role for the first time in his career. It also raised some questions regarding his pursuit of the 3,000-hit plateau, a figure that is likely within his reach next season if he is able to get enough at-bats this season.
As a longtime observer of the Marlins, Luke Weil loved the signing of Ichiro at the time and appreciates it even more now. The 41-year-old outfielder’s professional approach has influenced a very young clubhouse in a very positive way and has provided the recently acquired Dee Gordon with yet another mentor to pattern his game off of, as both Ichiro and coach Brett Butler have succeeded at the MLB level by employing playing styles that are ideally suited to Gordon’s skill set.
Now that Yelich is on the disabled list with a back injury, Ichiro will continue to prove his worth on the field as well. At 41, Ichiro still has impressive skills with the bat and can contribute a great deal with his glove in the expansive park the Marlins call home.
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