While the offseason is a chance for a fresh start for all Major League Baseball players, one longtime veteran has decided to hang up his cleats for good.
Two-time All-Star Zack Britton announced his retirement from baseball on Monday. Britton didn’t play in 2023 after he rushed back from Tommy John rebab in 2022, resulting in arm fatigue, and was eventually put back on the 60-day injured list. Britton threw for teams last offseason, but nothing ever materialized.
Britton announced the decision in an exclusive interview with The Athletic.
“My last outing was against the Orioles. I threw a ball to the backstop as my last pitch; I think about that and it sucks,” said Britton, who cited a desire to spend more time with his four children as a reason for his retirement. “It might not have been perfect from a career standpoint or going out on a high note, but you don’t always get to pick. My gut was telling me it was time to see what life was like on the other side.”
Britton made his MLB debut in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. He began his 12-year career in the rotation but didn’t become a full-time Major League relief pitcher until the 2014 season, after spending time between Triple-A Norfolk and the injured list.
In his second full season in the closer role, Britton became an All-Star after going 1-0 with 23 saves and a 1.72 ERA in the first half. He finished the season with 36 saves while posting a 4-1 record and a 1.92 ERA. His 36 saves were tired for 3rd in the American League. He ended up making the All-Star Game again in 2016, was named the AL Reliever of the Year for his efforts, and placed fourth in that year’s AL Cy Young voting.
Britton helped Baltimore make it to the playoffs for the third time in five seasons. Unfortunately, he was not used in a tied 2-2 game in the 11th inning of the AL Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, his teammate Ubaldo Jiménez allowed a walk-off three-run home run to Edwin Encarnación.