Brad Ziegler announced his retirement today
Ziegler, who turns 39 today, did not even pitch in the big leagues until age 28 yet managed to pitch in 11 big league seasons. He made 739 relief appearances with a 2.75 ERA and 105 saves in those seasons, pitching for the Diamondbacks, Athletics, Marlins and Red Sox. While his 2018 season was, by many measures, one of his worst as a big leaguer, it’s not like he couldn’t have carried on if he wanted to: he led the majors in appearances pitching in 82 games. If he wanted to pitch in 2019, I have no doubt he’d have found work.
As it is, however, he’s hanging them up. He released a lengthy statement about that decision a few minutes ago:
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.