Javier Lopez is set to announce his retirement from baseball at 39-years-old according to Ken Rosenthal. The left-handed reliever won four World Series, three with the San Francisco Giants (2010, 2012, 2014) and one with the Boston Red Sox in 2007.
The veteran reliever was a free agent after finishing a three-year deal with the Giants that was worth $13 million. With the free agency market largely failing to materialize for a lot of middle-tier relievers, it appears interest in acquiring Lopez’s services were somewhat muted.
Rosenthal editorialized with quotes from Lopez:
“More than anything, it’s just time,” Lopez said. “It’s a young man’s game. Although I think I can compete, it’s getting harder and harder to get ready for spring.
“I’m looking forward to some other things in my life. We’ll see what they are. I don’t know yet, but we’ll come up with something.”
The veteran of 14 seasons amassed 533.1 innings over his career, maintaining a 20.3% strikeout rate against left-handed batters. During the 2013 campaign—arguably his best—Lopez allowed just eight earned runs over 39.1 innings, striking out 37 and walking just 12.
With J.P. Howell, Jerry Blevins, and Boone Logan taking almost the entire offseason to sign to relatively team-friendly deals, it makes sense that Lopez couldn’t find an employer for the upcoming campaign.
Lopez’s retirement gives some perspective on how difficult it is to maintain the conditioning required to stay as a fixture in the major leagues, even for an athlete that is deployed in very specific roles.