Suzuki set to retire after 16-year career

September 22nd, 2022

ARLINGTON -- In two weeks’ time, Angels catcher will be back where it all started. For the final time.

Suzuki, 38, announced Tuesday that he plans to retire at season’s end, bringing his 16-year MLB career to a close.

“Obviously it’s not an easy decision,” Suzuki said. “There’s always going to be a time where you’re going to have to call it quits, and I just feel like it’s the right time.”

The Angels are set to close out their regular season against the A’s at the Coliseum -- where Suzuki began his career, and where he’ll suit up for his final game.

“It’s funny how it worked out that way,” he said.

Suzuki said he’d gone back and forth on retirement since Spring Training, but he started to feel he was ready as October drew closer.

“I talked to some guys that retired, and they say the game will tell you. You’ll feel it, you’ll know,” Suzuki said. “Last year, I was kind of iffy. This year, I kind of know.”

Suzuki, a native of Wailuku, Hawaii, was drafted by Oakland in the second round of the 2004 Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. He made his MLB debut with the club three years later and spent a combined seven seasons with the A’s. Before signing with the Angels in '21, Suzuki spent time with Minnesota (where he earned his lone All-Star nod in '14), Washington (where he won a World Series in '19) and Atlanta.

In his final season, Suzuki is batting .179/.263/.299 with four home runs and 14 RBIs.

“He means a lot to this organization,” interim manager Phil Nevin told The Orange County Register. “He’s been a great teammate here for a couple of years. He’s not going to be away from baseball, I can tell you that. He’s going to be a big part of it, whether he’s doing the same thing I’m doing or in the front office. He’s too good for this game.”

For now, Suzuki’s retirement plans revolve around spending time with his family.

“[My family] stuck by me, grinded it out through all these years with me as well. So to be able to become that full-time dad and full-time husband is going to be nice,” Suzuki said.

Returning to a dugout is not something Suzuki has ruled out just yet, but that's a conversation for some time down the road.