Jody Gerut is hanging up his cleats for good.
The 33-year-old outfielder and only known professional athlete who subscribes to The Economist inked a minor league contract with the Mariners over the winter, but he told a group of reporters on Sunday morning in spring camp that he no longer had the desire to continue playing.
Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 AM and MyNorthwest.com called Gerut’s retirement press conference “incredible” and transcribed some of the speech:
“I can no longer in good conscious play the game in the manner that reflects the positive example for the younger generation of baseball players. Physically I am fine, but mentally my reasons for being in uniform have been so thin and narrow that I refuse to disrespect the game that has provided so generously for my family by playing it in a half hearted way. This game owes me nothing. But I owe the game at least that much. When a player finds his willingness to compete to be so greatly diminished that player must leave the game so as not to disrespect it by becoming a player who plays solely for his paycheck and his own personal glory.
Hard to argue with any of that. Gerut will finish up with a .262/.325/.433 career slash line and 472 career hits. He played six major league seasons, spending time with the Indians, Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Brewers.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.