Most people would kill for the chance to retire before they turned 40. When you’re a pro athlete, however, retiring can feel like the end of your glory days. Although it’s hard to let go, sometimes a player’s retirement is in everyone’s best interests. Players can cut their losses, protect themselves from injury and go out before they lose all of their mojo.
There are far fewer days ahead in the baseball careers of many veteran players than there are behind. Some have eked out that final one-year contract. Others are sidelined by injury, like Johan Santana, or by suspension, like Miguel Tejada. These players gave us many thrilling seasons, and we’ll never forget their contributions. However, it’s time for these five players to call it quits and to buy the proverbial yacht.
Miguel Tejada must not have heard that “Breaking Bad” was cancelled. The 39-year-old Royals infielder was handed a 105-game suspension after testing positive for methamphetamine for the second time in a year. Tejada was already on the 60-day disabled list because of a strained calf muscle, and he won’t play again until game 65 of 2014.
Tejada has been in trouble for drugs before. He’s admitted to purchasing HGH when he played for Oakland, but he says he threw it away without using it. Also, he admitted under a plea agreement that he withheld information from Congress during baseball’s 2005 steroid hearings. Tejada claims he used Adderall for attention deficit disorder, but he didn’t protest the penalty. Some sources say he’s considering retirement, but others say he plays to fight for another contract.
Pitcher Carlos Zambrano has already retired once. In 2012, after making 20 starts with the Marlins, the longtime former Cub said he was calling it quits for good. Instead, in 2013, he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, only to be released in July after being sidelined with shoulder pain. Zambrano has been playing in Venezuela, and he’s vowing to return to the majors in 2014. It’s not likely Carlos is going to get a contract for Christmas this year.
Johan Santana is a two-time Cy Young winner who has torn his shoulder capsule twice in the past three years. He first had shoulder surgery in 2010, but instead of being open about continuing shoulder pain, he gutted through it. A second surgery in 2013 could spell a sad end for the 34-year-old lefty’s career. The Mets are likely to make him a free agent for 2014, and he’ll be lucky to get a minor league deal. Santana has said he doesn’t want to go out like this, but not all players get to retire on their own terms.
The Colorado Rockies took a gamble on Roy Oswalt in 2013 — and they lost. The pitcher posted an 0-4 record and a 7+ ERA before injuring his leg. Oswalt’s only 36, so he may still have a few years left. He won’t however, unless he shows the Rockies and Walt Weiss that he can deliver at the major league level. He can still throw a 94-mph fastball, gives up few walks and makes a lot of strikeouts. Unfortunately, the league has caught up with him, and retirement may be the most graceful way out.
About the Author: Mel Richmond loves baseball and doesn’t hesitate to place his bets using www.sportsbookbonus.com.
Carlos Zambrano image by Jauerback from Wikimedia Commons
Miguel Tejada image by Charles Sellars Concepts from Wikimedia Commons