Scot Shields is one of the elite relievers of the past decade, but missed most of last season with a knee injury and was relegated to mop-up duties for the Angels this season with a 5.28 ERA in 46 low-leverage innings before injuring his elbow on September 7.
Yesterday the 34-year-old right-hander told Dan Woike of the Orange County Register that his odds of returning to the Angels are “between slim and none” and he’s giving serious thought to retiring:
I don’t know. I could be home. I’ve definitely put thought into that, just going home and spending time with the family, or, I could pitch again. If the right situation comes up, I’ll look at it. But I’ll be very happy to just go home. I’ve been soaking it in for awhile now–for about the last three months–just in case this is it.
Shields never emerged as a household name because he never became a closer, but from 2002-2008 he averaged 90 innings per season while winning 45 games with a 2.98 ERA. Among all active relievers with at least 500 career innings only Mariano Rivera (2.23), Billy Wagner (2.31), Francisco Rodriguez (2.50), Joe Nathan (2.75), and Trevor Hoffman (2.87) have lower ERAs than Shields’ career mark of 3.18.
Sports Illustrated named Shields the “setup man of the decade” and Angels manager Mike Scioscia called him “the gold standard of setup guys for a long time.”