Left-hander Brady Aiken was among a set of minor leaguers released by the Indians, the team announced. Aiken hasn’t played in two years, as he announced after the 2019 season that he was stepping away from baseball for an indeterminate period of time.
Cleveland selected Aiken 17th overall in 2015, a year after the Astros took the southpaw with the 2014 draft’s first overall pick. In the wake of the Houston pick, however, the Astros had some last-minute concerns about Aiken’s left UCL and wanted to renegotiate a lower bonus, and the two sides didn’t reach agreement on a deal. Aiken indeed ended up undergoing Tommy John surgery, though that didn’t stop the Tribe from still taking Aiken in the first round in 2015.
Over part of three pro seasons, Aiken has a 5.18 ERA over 179 innings, reaching as high as the Indians’ A-ball affiliate in Lake County. Just about all of that experience took place in 2016-17, as after Aiken didn’t pitch in 2018, he returned to toss only two-thirds of an inning over two appearances for Lake County, walking six of his nine total batters faced.
Aiken just turned 25 in August, but given the circumstances, it is reasonable to speculate that his baseball career could be over. If so, Aiken would join Steve Chilcott (1965) and Brien Taylor (1991) as the only first overall picks to retire without ever playing in a Major League game.