Ichiro Suzuki is not the same player today as he was a decade ago when he was banging out 220-plus hits each MLB season, but the 43-year-old Miami Marlins outfielder still believes he can play a few more years.
At least seven more years, to be exact.
When reporters asked Suzuki how much longer he could play, the Japanese veteran said, "At least 50."
The 10-time All-Star and former American League (AL) MVP (2001) is clearly in the twilight of a great career.
But Suzuki is still a valuable spot player in the line-up. He is slashing .259/.322/.337 in 134 games this season, and his 27 pinch hits are only one shy of tying the single-season mark (set by the Colorado Rockies' John Vander Wal in 1995).
"You get judged by your numbers and what you've left behind when you leave this game," Ichiro said through his interpreter.
"I think everybody in here would want to [break the record], because we're all professionals. We're all trying to do something and leave a mark on the game."
In the field, the 10-time Gold Glove winner still knows his way around the outfield. Manager Don Mattingly told reporters he can still count on Suzuki.
"He could definitely play more than he's played this year, for sure," Mattingly told reporters. "I use him in all three spots. ... You trust him anywhere you put him on the field."
Now, the big question is whether the Marlins will bring back Suzuki in 2018. The team holds a $2million option for next year, but a decision has not been made.
"There's no reason not to be back," Ichiro said. "It's definitely a place I would want to be."