Forget the Pedro Martinez idea — he’s not coming back

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We linked to a New York Daily News story this morning in which it was suggested that Pedro Martinez could come back. Forget it. MLB Trade Rumors read and translated a Spanish language newspaper interview with Martinez in which he sounds like a guy quite happy with retirement, even if he hasn’t officially retired:

“I’m realizing what it is to be a normal person … It’s most likely that I don’t return to active baseball …but honestly I don’t know if I’ll definitively announce my retirement.”

If Philly really does want that fifth ace, however, they’ll have to look elsewhere. I seem to remember Steve Carlton being a fitness nut. He could probably still bring it.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?