When the Marlins signed Ichiro to a one-year $3 million deal many people question if Ichiro would make an impact this season for the Marlins. Ichiro, who is now 41 years old has made an impact on the game. Since busting into the league in 2001 Ichiro has been a sensation. In 2001 he captured both the Rookie Of The Year and MVP awards en route to taking the Mariners to tie for the highest number of wins ever in a regular season. His transcendent character made him a fan favorite in Seattle and a throwback player in an era of big home runs.
The decision to sign Ichiro was interesting to say the least. He had just turned 41 and was coming off of two horrific seasons with the New York Yankees. Ichiro has been a shell of the player he used to be and has showed signs of veteran decline. So why should you even care about the Ichiro signing? Simply put it Ichiro knows he's in the twilight of his career and is out to win his first World Series before he calls it career. And Ichiro sees Miami as an opportunity to finally win the biggest prize in professional baseball. He has reached the point where money, stats, and glory don't matter it's all about winning and that's commendable.
Outside of his motivation to finally win a title Ichiro brings tremendous leadership to the young Marlins outfield. Young outfields such as, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna can learn a lot from the seasoned Ichiro who is entering his 14th Major League season. He's been around the league several times and brings a great deal of knowledge on the game of baseball. Young players such as Yelich and Ozuna are still very impressionable and still have loads of untapped potential. You can always learn from a 10-time All-Star and a former MVP. In a game as individualized as baseball, leadership doesn't seem to matter but, it's always nice to have some veteran players to help along the young guys.
As far as on the field performance Ichiro brings value as a pinch runner. Over his career Ichiro has stolen 457 bases and still has world-class speed on the bases. Ichiro will also be carried on the roster as the Marlins' extra outfielder and as a utility man this season. He could see some pinch hit situations and he could see a few starts when the starters get the day off but, don't expect immediate and a large impact from Ichiro on the field.
Overall, the Marlins signed a fan favorite who will bring leadership and could be a valuable utility man down the stretch. Unfortunately Ichiro is well out of his prime and he will never be an everyday Major League player. He just isn't the once in a generation talent he used to be. But that's ok, Ichiro can make an impact on or off the field.