01/07/10 2:46 PM EST
Phillies' reliever Eyre retires
Veteran pitcher leaving game after 13 seasons in Majors
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He is loading the family into an RV and heading West.
"We're just going to drive through Utah, Oregon, Yosemite, Idaho," Eyre said. "We don't have anything planned. It's my wife, my two kids and four dogs in an RV."
Eyre, 37, will not be playing baseball this summer. He said in a telephone interview Thursday with MLB.com that he is retiring after 13 seasons in the Majors. He finished his career 28-30 with a 4.23 ERA in 617 appearances with the Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Phillies.
Eyre helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series and the National League championship in '09. He also helped the Giants win the '02 NL pennant.
Eyre had said after Game 6 of the 2009 World Series against the New York Yankees that he would play for the Phillies in '10 or retire. He had minor elbow surgery following the season, which indicated that he wanted to play.
Eyre asked for the same $2 million contract he had in 2009, but the Phillies offered a Minor League deal. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that they probably had finished negotiations with Eyre, but Eyre said Thursday that even if the club had offered a Major League contract he likely would have retired.
"I had most of this retirement thing planned out," Eyre said. "I think even if he would have offered me a better contract I still don't think I would have taken it. My family took a trip to Disney before Christmas. We stayed in the RV. We didn't even go to the amusement parks. We fished. We hung out. It was fun. The more time I spent with the kids at home the more I realized I wanted to hang out. I've played long enough.
"I go out playing in back-to-back World Series. I won one of them. I lost two of them. I've been to three, so it's not like I didn't accomplish anything in my career. I pitched in a whole bunch of games and had a lot of fun doing it."
Eyre went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 42 appearances last season with Philadelphia. He joined the Phillies in August 2008 after a trade with the Chicago Cubs. He went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 19 appearances down the stretch. Because of his performance with the Phillies the past two seasons, Eyre acknowledged that it hurt a bit not to receive a Major League offer, but he also said he understood why he did not.
"I do understand Ruben's point of view," he said. "I'll be 38 in May. I've pitched in a lot of games. I've had elbow issues. I had the surgery to get it fixed, but nobody really knows if it's going to work or not. I can't guarantee it's going to feel great when I'm snapping off sliders. So I really do understand why he held back. He's trying to protect the organization in case I get hurt. It made the decision a little easier, but I don't think it would have swayed it."
Of course, Eyre said it will be strange to be at home in Sarasota, Fla., when Spring Training starts next month.
"Every day I think about what I'm going to miss," he said. "I'm going to miss going to the clubhouse. Being with the Phillies, I'm going to miss seeing Chad Durbin sitting at his locker doing the crossword puzzle. I'm going to miss watching Brad [Lidge] read his biblical books in his locker after batting practice, eating the biggest sandwich I've ever seen anybody eat. I've talked to guys about it. I talked to [Jon] Lieber about it. Basically, you miss the camaraderie with the guys. And the Phillies' clubhouse is great. That's one of the reasons why Cliff [Lee] didn't want to leave. It's one of the best clubhouses you could be in. I don't care what anybody says about theirs. I've been in a few of them. This is one of the best. I never once said, 'I don't want to go to the field today.'"
Eyre, who said he could see himself broadcasting in the future, joked that he will have to bum a few tickets off Amaro this summer.
That shouldn't be a problem.
"I hope not," Eyre said. "I'd like to be part of the Phillies franchise in some way, some day. But for this summer, I'm just going to hang out."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.