Everyone thought the arm would go, so it seems a bit ironic that a knee injury ultimately led to the demise of Scot Shields, the rubber-armed reliever whose durability and dependability made him one of baseball’s best setup men from 2004 to 2008.
Shields said Tuesday that he is leaning heavily toward retiring after this season, his inability to bounce back from surgery on his left knee in 2009 and the emergence of several young relievers pushing the veteran right-hander out of the Angels’ picture for 2011.
“I would say probably,” Shields, when asked whether he would retire, said before the Angels’ game against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. “There’s a business side of it and a personal side of it. From a business side, just look at the bullpen here.
“From a personal side, my family comes first, and I’ve missed too much of my life with them, so it might be time to go home. I had a great time here. I wish the organization the best of luck in the future.”
Shields, who is married with two daughters, ages 8 and 5, was selected setup man of the decade by Sports Illustrated, and his 425 innings pitched from 2004 to 2008, when he was 35-29 with a 3.11 earned-run average, were the most by any big league reliever.
The last remaining link to the Angels’ 2002 World Series championship team, Shields, who relied on a lively 94-mph sinking fastball and curve, also led the American League in holds from 2006 to 2008, with 31 in each season.
But patellar tendinitis in his left knee limited Shields, who is in the final year of a four-year, $18-million contract, to 20 games in 2009