Ichiro Suzuki retirement news has come out early Thursday morning (May 3) from the team. An announcement was just made by the Seattle Mariners that Ichiro will be transitioning to the role of special assistant to the chairman. The role change is effective today, with MLB Network stating that it pretty much means Ichiro’s career on the field has come to an end. But does it? There is also a report by Ken Rosenthal that he isn’t quite leaving the game yet.

Ichiro’s agent stated that “He is not retiring. He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve.” So what does it all mean? Will Ichiro retire now? At the end of the season? Does this indicate that Ichiro could still be playing with the Mariners during the 2019 season? The organization still has to address what it all means.

There were Seattle Mariners rumors about Ichiro retiring during this current homestand [VIDEO], so this news won’t be too surprising to fans of the team. It will be bad news for some of the die-hard Ichiro fans who were really excited to see him return to the Mariners as a free agent. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found consistency at the plate during the 2018 MLB season, forcing the Mariners to start considering options moving forward.

Ichiro with the Mariners

It was back in the 2001 MLB season that Ichiro Suzuki debuted for the Seattle Mariners. He would end up winning the American League MVP Award as well as the Rookie of the Year honors. He became just the second player in baseball history to win both awards in the same season. Prior to his accomplishment, it was only Fred Lynn with the Boston Red Sox who was able to do that.

During his time in Major League Baseball, Ichiro has amassed 3,089 career hits, placing him 22nd all-time on the list. That’s an accomplishment that will have him becoming a first-ballot inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame very soon. Cooperstown is already calling and has a display from when he set the single-season record with 262 hits during the 2004 campaign. The 10-time Gold Glove winner was also well-known for how good he was on defense in the outfield.

Time to retire No. 51

With this Ichiro Suzuki retirement news, there are also Seattle Mariners rumors about what comes next. The team will have the opportunity to retire No. 51 in honor of him, marking the second time this number has received those honors. It is the same number that Randy Johnson wore and has since been retired by the team, but now Ichiro is very likely to see his number in the stadium soon as well.

Ichiro to retire or not?

So is Ichiro going to retire? Are the Mariners just waiting to make an announcement [VIDEO]? The drama of the entire situation could continue for a while. Or at least until the Mariners hold a press conference to dictate what comes next.