The Miami Marlins made things official with an introductory press conference for Ichiro Suzuki on Wednesday in Japan.
Even though Suzuki will serve in a reserve role for Miami, the team sent a contingent of front office executives to Japan for the conference. President of baseball operations Mike Hill, president David Samson, general manager Dan Jennings, vice president of communications P.J. Loyello and former Marlin Jeff Conine were all present.
The respect and interest shown by the Marlins was not overlooked by the future Hall-of-Famer.
“When I met these team executives I felt the incredible enthusiasm," Suzuki said during the press conference.
The contract is for one-year at a cost of $2 million. It is a far cry from the salaries that Suzuki has earned in his career. Barring injuries to the starting outfield, Suzuki will find most of his at-bats as a pinch-hitter.
Suzuki is approaching 3,000 hits and while he is unlikely to reach the mark in 2015, it remains possible that the veteran stays in Miami for a second year. The contract does not include an option year so Suzuki would become a free agent once again at the end of the 2015 season.
This is the first time that the Marlins have signed a Japanese player to a contract. With Suzuki signed, the only remaining MLB team without a Japanese player in their history is the Cincinnati Reds.
"It's no secret we were one of the last few teams to have a Japanese player," Samson stated during a conference call with the media.
For the most part, the Marlins have their roster set. It is possible the team could still make moves but they would likely be small at this point.
The Marlins will begin spring training on February 20th in Jupiter.