The Seattle Mariners will officially announce today that they have signed Ichiro Suzuki to a contract extension that will keep him the All-Star MVP from leaving in free agency this fall.
A Mariners official, who requested anonymity because the formal notification of the announcement was still pending, confirmed late Thursday night that the team will host an early afternoon press conference Friday. The deal is expected to be for five seasons after this one, which will take Suzuki to age 39 with the only major league team he's known.
Immediately after Suzuki went 0-for-4 as the Mariners beat Detroit 3-2 to move a season-high 14 games over .500, general manager Bill Bavasi entered the clubhouse and summoned his seventh-time All-Star into manager John McLaren's office. The franchise cornerstone looked surprised that Bavasi wanted to see him, then dressed quickly into his jeans and rainbow-striped sneakers for a brief, closed-door chat. When he emerged, Suzuki was asked if he had good news.
"You'll find out sometime," he said, smiling and repeating an answer that he gave before the game, pregame answer.
The seven-time All-Star was grinning most of the day at the commotion from news this week that he has agreed to the extension that seemed in doubt in spring training, when Suzuki declared he was curious to enter free agency for the first time.
McLaren said before the game that he hadn't heard anything about an imminent announcement.
Suzuki hit the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star game history Tuesday night, winning unanimous MVP honors and helping the American League to a 5-4 victory.
He walked out of the dugout before the Mariners' game against Detroit on Thursday night and tipped his cap to acknowledge the crowd's standing ovation when he was recognized for the MVP performance. The 33-year-old Suzuki is in the final year of a $41 million, four-year contract.
He set the single-season record for hits with 262 in 2004. He has gotten at least 200 hits in each of his first six years in the majors.
Source: Mariners to announce that Ichiro has re-signed