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Time To Hang It Up: Five MLB Players That Should Retire

Joey Votto - fantasy baseball first base rankings sleepers MLB DFS lineup picks

There are several MLB players who are approaching the latter part of their careers. When that happens, their production isn't the same, and they're just hanging on until they officially retire.

After the 2023 season, we saw several veterans retire, including Miguel Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, and Adam Wainwright. Cabrera was 40 years old, Cruz was 43 years old, and Wainwright was 42 years old. All three players were clearly past their prime, and they struggled to put up quality stats in their final year.

Now, let's look at which five players should hang it up and retire. Some players on this list should retire before the 2024 season even starts, while others should retire after the 2024 season. Let's dive in and find out which MLB players make this list.

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SP Rich Hill, Free Agent

Left-handed starting pitcher Rich Hill is currently a free agent, but the veteran has expressed interest in still playing in 2024. It's hard to walk away from the game you love and grew up with. However, Hill will turn 44 years old before the 2024 season begins, which makes him the oldest active player in the league.

Hill started his Major League Baseball career all the way back in 2005 with the Chicago Cubs. Since then, he has played 19 seasons with 13 different teams. The southpaw has also played with seven different organizations over the past five years, most recently with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres during the 2023 season.

It wasn't the best of seasons for Hill last year after he finished with a 5.41 ERA and a 1.524 WHIP across 146.1 innings pitched. The veteran had some great years in the middle of his career, but it's apparent that he doesn't have much left in the tank at age 44. He wants to play in 2024, though it's likely best to just retire.

 

1B Joey Votto, Free Agent

Like Hill, former Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has expressed interest in playing "at least one more year" in the majors. However, after the Reds declined Votto's option after the 2023 season, it might be time for the former MVP to hang up his cleats.

It would be hard to see Votto play anywhere other than Cincinnati, considering he played there for 17 seasons. He started his MLB career in 2007 and was, at one point, one of the best first basemen in the game. He won the National League MVP in 2010 following a 37-home run, 113-RBI season. The veteran also made it to six All-Star Games and won a Gold Glove in 2011.

However, Votto is clearly past his prime. He has played in just 156 combined games over the past two seasons while hitting .203 at the plate with 25 HRs and 79 RBI. The former Reds first baseman is currently 40 years old, and his best option might be to retire before the 2024 season begins.

 

SP Zack Greinke, Free Agent

When it reaches the point in your career where everyone thinks you'll retire, hanging it up is probably the best thing to do. There were some expectations that Zack Greinke would retire following the 2023 season. However, after thinking about his future this offseason, Greinke wants to pitch again in 2024.

The right-hander has had a long career, which first started in 2004 with the Kansas City Royals. He has now gone on to play 20 MLB seasons with six different organizations. But most fans will likely remember him most from the Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the years, he has won the American League Cy Young award (2009), six Gold Gloves, and two Silver Slugger awards. He has also finished with the ERA title twice (2009 & 2015) and has six All-Star appearances.

Greinke has an extensive resume, and there's a strong chance he will make the Hall of Fame when he retires. But at 40 years old, that time should be now. The veteran pitcher is coming off a season with the Royals where he had a 5.06 ERA (second-worst of his career) across 142.1 IP.

 

3B Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants

Longtime San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is attempting a comeback in the majors. Sandoval, who hasn't played in the majors since 2021, was awarded a non-roster invite in spring training this season. However, at 37 years old, it might be time for the switch hitter to hang it up.

Sandoval has played 14 years in the majors, including 11 with the Giants, three with the Boston Red Sox, and two with the Atlanta Braves. The slugging third baseman started his playing career in 2008 and helped San Francisco win three World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014. He also won World Series MVP during that 2012 title when he was 8-of-16 at the plate with three HRs and four RBI.

After that 2014 title, though, Sandoval's career started to decline. He spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Red Sox before landing back on the Giants during the middle of the 2017 season. The third baseman then spent his last MLB season with the Braves in 2021, where he hit .178 with four HRs and 11 RBI across 69 games. After two years away from the MLB, retirement should be an option for the two-time All-Star -- if he doesn't make the Giants' Opening Day roster.

 

SP Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton just turned 40 years old, and he will play at least one more year in the majors. There's also a good chance Morton will retire following the 2024 season, considering he'll be a free agent after this year. That seems like the best case for the veteran pitcher.

Morton first started his career with the Braves in 2008 before he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2009-2015. After that, he bounced around from the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Rays from 2016 to 2020. The right-hander has made two All-Star appearances over his career with the Astros (2018) and the Rays (2019).

Now, toward the end of his career, he has become a consistent rotation arm for the Braves. Last season, Morton finished with a 3.64 ERA and 183 strikeouts across 163.1 IP. The veteran right-hander has already pitched 16 years in the league, and the 2024 season will be his 17th. However, this could be his final rodeo.



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