Veteran right-hander Tyler Clippard took to Instagram yesterday to announce his retirement from professional baseball. A sixteen-year big league veteran, Clippard last played for the Nationals during the 2022 season, making four appearances at the big league level while primarily pitching at the Triple-A level.
“The time has come to announce my retirement from baseball,” Clippard wrote, “Thank you to my parents, my wife, my friends, my teammates, my agent, my coaches and trainers, and everyone else who has supported me along the way!”
Clippard’s professional career began when he was selected in the ninth round of the 2003 draft by the Yankees. He eventually made his big league debut at the age of 22, starting six games for New York in 2007. The audition did not go well, as Clippard posted a 6.33 ERA and 6.68 FIP in 27 innings of work. He was traded to the Nationals that offseason and made just two appearances in the majors in 2008, allowing five runs on 12 hits and 7 walks in 10 1/3 innings of work across his pair of starts.
Clippard move to the bullpen ahead of the 2009 season, and the then 24-year-old righty quickly proved that relief work suited him. Clippard posted a sterling 2.69 ERA while striking out 27.3% of batters faced in 60 1/3 innings of work across 41 appearances. The 2009 season proved to be the start of the most successful stretch of Clippard’s career, as he would dominate toward the back of the bullpen in Washington for years to come.
Over the next five seasons, Clippard posted a 2.63 ERA, 48% better than league average by measure of ERA+, with a 3.24 FIP in 393 1/3 innings of work. Clippard struck out 29% of batters faced while walking 9.1%. He racked up 34 saves across those seasons, primarily coming from the 2012 season when he acted as the club’s closer. The stretch also included both of Clippad’s career All Star appearances. His first All Star nod came in 2011, when the righty posted a phenomenal 1.83 ERA across 88 1/3 innings, good for a whopping 209 ERA+. Clippard struck out 31.6% of batters faced that season while walking just 7.9%, resulting in a career-best 23.7 K-BB%. His 2014 season was nearly as strong, as the then-29-year-old righty posted a 2.18 ERA and 2.75 FIP in 70 1/3 innings of work en route to his second All Star game.
The 2015-17 seasons proved to be tumultuous ones for Clippard, as he suited up for six different teams across the three campaigns. After being traded from the Nationals to Oakland shortly after New Year’s in 2015, Clippard was shipped to the Mets at the trade deadline and signed a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks that offseason before finally returning to his original team in New York via trade at the 2016 deadline. His stay in New York lasted until shortly after the 2017 All Star break, when he was shipped to the White Sox. Chicago flipped Clippard to the Astros just one month later. While Clippard did not appear on the club’s postseason roster, he nonetheless received a World Series ring in 2017 as a member of the Astros’ championship club.
Despite the constant upheaval Clippard faced over those three seasons, his results remained above average: in 205 appearances across the 2015-17 campaigns, Clippard posted a 3.70 ERA (114 ERA+) with a 4.34 FIP and a 25.2% strikeout rate, though his walk rate jumped to 10.6% over that time. Now 33 years old and a veteran of eleven big league seasons, Clippard provided quality innings of relief to Toronto, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Arizona over the next four seasons (3.21 ERA and 3.96 FIP in 182 innings of work) before returning to the Nationals to close out his career.
In all, Clippard’s big league career concludes with a career 3.16 ERA in 807 appearances. The two-time All Star finished 212 games in his career with 74 saves and struck out 956 batters in 872 1/3 innings of work. We at MLB Trade Rumors congratulate Clippard on his baseball career and wish him all the best as he moves on to his post-playing career.