Agent: Mariners, Padres passed on Ichiro after 'extensive conversations'
If Ichiro Suzuki doesn't get a big-league job in 2018, it won't be for lack of trying.
The future Hall of Famer is still hopeful of returning for an 18th major-league season after spending last year as a pinch-hitter with the Miami Marlins, and though he's found no takers to this point, it now appears he attempted to return to where it all started.
Ichiro's agent, John Boggs, told Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com on Tuesday that he had "extensive conversations" with the Seattle Mariners about a reunion with the 44-year-old before the team ultimately chose to go in a different direction.
"We had great hopes at the beginning of all this that the Mariners would bring him back," Boggs said. "I wish there was more activities with clubs. I understand there are a lot of outfielders still out there."
Boggs added that he also spoke to the San Diego Padres about Ichiro, only to see them move on as well.
Ichiro spent 12 of his 17 big-league seasons with the Mariners, and won both the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year with them in 2001 - his debut season in the big leagues. He remains a beloved figure in Seattle. No Mariner has worn No. 51 since his departure in 2012, and Mariners fans gave him multiple ovations during what might have been his final games at Safeco Field this past April - a series that saw Ichiro rise to the occasion and hit a home run in his possible final at-bat in Seattle.
Though Ichiro - who owns 3,080 base hits in the major leagues, and 4,358 hits combined between MLB and Japan - has publicly stated a desire to play professionally until he's 50, the lack of interested big-league teams has fueled speculation about whether he'd continue his career in Japan.
In December, he deflected questions about the possibility of playing back home for the first time since 2000, stating that "when you use the word possibility ... anything is possible as long as it's not zero."
Despite the speculation about his going home, Boggs remains focused on securing his legendary client a job in North America for the coming season.
"I don't really like to think about that (returning to Japan)," Boggs said. "As every day goes by, I keep holding out hope that somebody will realize that he would be a tremendous asset for any organization."