Miami has not had the ideal 2015 campaign but has the opportunity to get a head start on 2016. The Marlins will likely be active on the free agent and trade fronts, however re-signing Ichiro Suzuki should be among the organization's top priorities.
As Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald pointed out, Suzuki is the only position player on the Marlins' opening day roster to not be placed on the disabled list or sent to the minors. Miami has been plagued by injuries all season but ensuring the veteran outfielder is on its roster next season should prove to be beneficial moving forward.
When the Marlins signed Suzuki last offseason, the expectation was he would serve as the fourth outfielder and left-handed pinch hitter late in games. However, both Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich have spent time on the disabled list and Marcell Ozuna was sent to Triple-A for multiple weeks. As a result, Suzuki has received a notable amount of starting time.
While neither Suzuki nor the organization expected he would be playing so often, Suzuki has responded to the increased playing time. Over 136 games, he is batting .244/.301/.301 to complement one home run and 20 RBIs.
Beyond what he can provide off the bench, regardless of whether some feel it is not significant to the game itself, Suzuki has proven to be a leader in the clubhouse. He consistently leads by example and has a notable amount of experience. Miami's clubhouse is not known to have the best of reputations or positive outlook. Keeping Suzuki involved will likely change that.
Suzuki, 41, is also chasing 3,000 career hits. The Japanese media has followed Suzuki throughout the season and if reached such a milestone in a Marlins uniform, the publicity would seemingly be endless. Suzuki already holds the Marlins in a high regard after team executives went to Japan to introduce him in a press conference.
Since he is not sure how much longer he wants to play, Suzuki likely would not require an extensive contract. Even a one-year deal might serve the purpose.
Miami probably has a long list of things it would like to accomplish this offseason. Re-signing Suzuki should be near the top and is something that could get done rather quickly.