Outfielder Sam Fuld has announced his retirement after an eight-year MLB career. He’ll build upon his legend by joining the Phillies front office as the team’s major league player information coordinator.
Fuld, 35, is a Stanford graduate who has long been seen as a potential future front office member. He was most recently seen on the field in the World Baseball Classic, playing for Team Israel, which represents a nice bookend for his playing career after rotator cuff surgery kept him out for all of 2016.
In just over fifteen-hundred overall trips to the plate in the majors, Fuld managed only a .227/.307/.325 batting line with a dozen home runs. Yet the former tenth-round pick managed to compile an even 5 career fWAR, due to his highly-rated defensive work and baserunning (including 67 total stolen bases).
Fuld opened his MLB time with the Cubs but will likely be best remembered as a member of the Rays and A’s. He endeared himself to the fans of those two low-budget clubs with his motor and body-sacrificing dives in the field. Fuld ultimately spent the bulk of his time with those two organizations; he also played in part of the 2014 campaign with the Twins, where he enjoyed one of his most productive runs at the plate.
It sounds as if Fuld is already well on his way to making a mark in a non-playing capacity. In his new role, the club says, he’ll “help integrate the use of information in all areas of on-field performance and preparation and make recommendations regarding the most effective areas of future research and analysis.” Former Orioles staffer Ben Werthan will hold a similar position on the minor league side of the equation, the Phillies also announced.
It certainly sounds as if Fuld is being hired to help translate analytical knowledge to the field while hopefully inspiring new frontiers from a player’s perspective. That seems to mesh with the team’s decision to hire the youthful Gabe Kapler as its next manager, a move that many observers are framing as something of a bold gambit.