Pearce surpassed ten years of MLB service last year, as Bradford notes. That entitles him to a full pension, an achievement that once seemed exceptionally unlikely. An eighth-round pick in 2005, Pearce made it to the majors with the Pirates and appeared briefly with the Bucs in five major league campaigns. But he departed the organization with little fanfare and struggled to find a new home elsewhere.
Through 2012, Pearce had managed just 709 MLB plate appearances of 82 OPS+ hitting in stints with four clubs. He showed a bit of life in a 44-game sample in his age-30 season, but still ended up being designated for assignment early in the ensuing campaign.
That’s when Pearce morphed from a little-known 4-A player to a sudden star hitter. He made the unusual decision to reject a late-April claim in order to return to the O’s after the DFA. And then he raked. Pearce finished the 2014 campaign with a .293/.373/.556 batting line and 21 home runs over 383 plate appearances.
Pearce ultimately appeared in 13 MLB campaigns, logging 2,555 plate appearances of .254/.332/.440 hitting. There were some peaks and valleys, and quite a few injury layoffs, along the way. He never once reached 400 plate appearances in a given season. But Pearce will finish off his career having produced solidly above-average offensive numbers.
Never regarded much for his glovework, Pearce nevertheless proved capable of stepping in all over the diamond, allowing teams to shoehorn his bat into the lineup. He saw action at first base, left field, right field, second base, and third base (in that order of frequency).
When he wasn’t working back to health or going through a rough patch, Pearce provided big output at times for the Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He also appeared earlier in his career with the Yankees, making him the rare player to have donned every uniform in a single division. Pearce will no doubt be remembered most in the long haul for his indelible mark on Boston sports history, as his three-homer output in the 2018 World Series earned him an MVP award on the game’s biggest stage.
Pearce returned to the Red Sox in 2019 but struggled badly before back and knee injuries wrecked his season. While he isn’t yet ready to file his paperwork, it seems the 36-year-old won’t actively pursue a job this winter. That’s plenty understandable, as he’d no doubt need to earn his way onto a big-league roster on a minor-league deal. Pearce is to be congratulated for persisting through early-career setbacks and frequent health problems. MLBTR wishes him the best in his future endeavors.