Ichiro Suzuki will chase his 3,000th hit as a member of the Miami Marlins in 2016 the team announced on Tuesday.
Suzuki, who is considered a future Hall of Famer, was set to hit free agency. After signing a one-year deal with Miami for the 2015 season, Suzuki endured multiple offensive slumps. Still, the veteran gave the Marlins many positive moments and was a good influence on a young roster.
Team president David Samson joked that the team brought Suuzki back for "pitching depth" during a news conference.
In the final game of the season, manager Dan Jennings gave Suzuki a moment he had been waiting for. Suzuki pitched the final inning of Miami's season after wishing to take the mound for many years. The moment brought excitement to a team that was out of playoff contention, and showed how much the 42-year old means to his teammates. Upon returning to the dugout, the All-Star was greeted by jubilation.
Reaching 3,000 hits next year is not a given, but is possible. Suzuki is 65 hits away from the magical number. In 2015, Suzuki had 91 at-bats but also saw more playing time than he likely originally anticipated. Due to several injuries, Suzuki became a regular outfielder for a good portion of the year. In fact, Suzuki led the team in games played despite opening the year as a fourth outfielder.
Production aside, Suzuki brings tremendous work ethic to the clubhouse. His influence could be crucial on the young players surrounding him. Suzuki has literally seen it all in his many years around the game.
If Suzuki reaches the 3,000 hit mark, he would be the first player to ever do so in a Marlins uniform.