Veteran reliever Peter Moylan has opted to retire from Major League Baseball at the age of 40, he tells David O’Brien of The Athletic (subscription required). The Australian-born hurler isn’t entirely walking away from the game, as he’ll pitch for a professional team in Italy this summer and hopes to pitch for the Australian Olympic baseball team, O’Brien adds.
Moylan details his decision in the lengthy interview, revealing that although the calendar is about to flip to March, he simply never received an offer this winter. Despite the fact that Moylan believes he’s still capable of competing at the game’s top level, he also insists that there’s no bitterness or anger with regard to how the offseason played out. “The game is trending younger,” said the veteran righty. “I’m certainly not that. It’s time for me to let the kids play, so I’m done.”
Moylan will walk away from Major League Baseball having put together one of the most improbable careers in history. He was released by the Twins after the 1998 season and spent seven years working various non-baseball jobs in Australia. During that time, he continued pitching on the side and adopted a sidearm slot, which restored his velocity and helped him to qualify for Team Australia in the 2006 World Baseball Classic (while he was working as a pharmaceutical sales rep). That, in turn, led to a contract with the Braves. Moylan made his MLB debut with Atlanta shortly thereafter, on April 12, 2006 — nearly a decade after he signed his original contract with the Minnesota organization.
Over the next 13 years, Moylan would appear in parts of 12 MLB seasons, pitching to a combined 3.10 ERA with 324 strikeouts against 180 walks in 418 2/3 innings of regular-season work (plus another scoreless frame in the postseason). Along the way, he posted a 24-10 record, recorded four saves and racked up 99 holds between the Braves, Royals and Dodgers. Even late in his career, he demonstrated an ability to pitch at a high level, as he led the Majors with 79 appearances and logged a 3.49 ERA over the course of 59 1/3 innings for Kansas City in 2017. Over the course of his professional career, he was a two-time Tommy John patient, had multiple back surgeries and also underwent shoulder and biceps procedures.
Those unfamiliar with Moylan’s remarkable baseball odyssey will want to fully digest O’Brien’s column, as it’s rife with stories from Moylan himself and quotes from former teammates such as Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman; both heap praise on the sidearmer not only for his on-field contributions but his importance to the clubhouse and ability to elicit a laugh from any teammate at virtually any moment. Best wishes to Moylan in life after Major League Baseball.