The Marlins have officially announced that they have exercised the 2017 club option over outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and also added an additional $2MM option year to his deal. Miami also confirmed the previously-reported, three-year extension with third baseman Martin Prado.
It’ll cost the Fish just $2MM to bring back Ichiro, who topped 3,000 hits during his solid 2016 campaign. All told, he ran up a .288/.352/.374 batting line over 365 plate appearances. While nobody will mistake that for one of the Japanese star’s mid-prime seasons, it made him quite a useful fourth outfielder and represents remarkable productivity for a man of his age.
It remains to be seen whether the coming season will be the last for the all-time great performer. But it certainly appears that at least one more is under contemplation, given that the sides agreed to plug another option into his contract. With a starting outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna, the hope will be that Ichiro is deployed only sparingly, but he has been needed for rather extensive use in each of his two seasons in Miami.
As for the Prado contract, which was reported about a week ago, the Marlins will keep the versatile veteran from testing a market that likely would have valued him rather highly. Prado, meanwhile, avoids the risk of entering free agency after declining a qualifying offer, which would have held down his market by requiring other teams to sacrifice a draft choice to sign him.
With Prado locked in at third for the time being, the Marlins appear to have solidified their infield mix. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria did struggle quite a bit in 2016, but it’s unclear whether there’s any reasonable hope of upgrading. With Dee Gordon at second, J.T. Realmuto behind the plate, and Derek Dietrich available as a utility option, the only question may be what the team does to find a right-handed-hitting complement for Justin Bour at first base.
Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald tweeted that the announcements were expected today. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweeted on the additional option, while SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweeted its value.