After 14 Major League seasons, outfielder Matt Joyce has officially retired just two days in advance of his 38th birthday. Joyce played with the Phillies in 2021 but was released after the year, and he told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he waited a few months into the 2022 campaign to see if he could land any offers from non-independent teams.
When those offers didn’t come, Joyce closed the book on a career that saw him suit up for eight different teams over the course of an even 1400 career games. Spending the last half of his career bouncing around the majors, he played one season each with the Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Pirates, Angels, and Tigers, while playing two seasons with the Athletics and six seasons with the Rays.
The left-handed hitting Joyce was never able to muster much production against left-handed pitching over his career, which often relegated him to platoon or bench duties. However, he carved out a comfortable niche for himself as a righty-masher, with a .251/.353/.444 career slash line against right-handed pitching. Joyce was also one of the more prominent pinch-hitters in baseball history, as his 369 career plate appearances as a pinch-hitter ranks sixth on the all-time list.
A 12th-round pick for the Tigers in the 2006 draft, Joyce made his big league debut with Detroit in 2008 before being dealt to the Rays for (speaking of prominent journeymen) Edwin Jackson in December 2008. It was a homecoming for the Tampa native Joyce, and he told Topkin that his stint with the Rays “probably means the most to me, looking back. Just being from here, being raised here, playing here, making the playoffs three out of the five (full) years that I was up with the team. A lot of really cool memories, a lot of really cool highlights. That was special, for sure.”
Joyce’s Rays tenure peaked with the 2011 season, when he hit .277/.347/.478 with 19 home runs and was named to his only All-Star team. For his entire career, Joyce finishes with a .242/.342/.425 slash line and 149 homers over 4355 plate appearances.
“I definitely feel good, and I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish,” Joyce said. “I think overcoming the biggest trials and failures is really what I’m most proud of. That ultimately shows a lot about a person, a lot about an athlete. The fact that they’re just willing to kind of grind and persevere and continue to fail, but you continue to get back up again. So, yeah, I’m definitely proud of my career.”
We at MLB Trade Rumors congratulate Joyce on a fine career, and wish him the best in his post-baseball endeavors.