MLB: Three Players Who Should Retire in 2017

MLB

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Over the last several years, MLB has seen some of its most iconic players hang their cleats up. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and David Ortiz have all retired recently. With the new trend of announcing retirements a year early, who are some players who need to retire this calendar year?

Admittedly, I am not a big fan of the recent trend of announcing retirement a year in advance. Yes, it is awesome to see these players get their proper farewells and receive gifts, but it eliminates the mystique of retirement. It is very hard to “ride off into the sunset” with the mindset that you must announce a year in advance. Look at David Ortiz. He could have easily hung around another season or two with a reduced workload and rode off into the sunset. Bringing in Chris Sale has made the Red Sox my favorites to win it all, and Ortiz may be missing out on that.

Plus, nobody wants to be the Brett Favre of baseball and continually announce false retirements. While it is entertaining and funny to some extent, these players are only jeopardizing their legacies. As cynical as my thoughts sound, I am not entirely against the trend. No, I do not like it, but at the least it does allow the player to focus on playing and not contemplate whether or not to hang it up. It does bring in more fans, and does give that player more exposure and comfort.

However, the topic for discussion at hand is which players should call it quits in 2017. Whether it be for age or lack of production, it may be in the best interest for these three guys to retire this year.

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3. Ryan Howard

Fun fact: Despite being a hardcore Dodgers fan to the core, Ryan Howard was my first true favorite player. I remember mimicking him, sticking the bat into the air and swinging with all my might. That makes this a little harder to say, but 2017 should be the year Howard hangs it up. Whether it is before this season or after, Howard’s power stint in MLB should come to a close.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Howard call it quits before the start of the season, as seemingly no team is biting on his power potential. Chances are Howard will attempt to continue to play, as he stated he wanted another World Series ring, but that is if he can even get a deal. Potentially some desperate team like the Rays could reach out to Howard, but that does not fit the narrative he is trying to set. Honestly, I would not be surprised if Howard signed a minor league deal like former teammate Jimmy Rollins did last season.

Unfortunately, 2017 should be the last year of Howard’s career. Even if he does find a suitor, unless he has a monster season, it is hard to justify him playing further. He seemingly has accomplished everything he could hope to accomplish, and his numbers are just bad. Since 2010 Howard has accumulated just 0.4 WAR, with four of his last five seasons being in the negative.

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2. Bartolo Colon

I don’t want Bartolo to retire, you don’t want Bartolo to retire, Bartolo himself likely doesn’t want to retire. However, the fact of the matter is that Colon will be turning 44 years old, the same age as my father, this calendar year. Despite still managing to be an effective pitcher, father time catches up to everyone, and it is time for Colon. Honestly, he will probably stick around with some minor league deals or bullpen stints, but to avoid any future tarnishing of his legend, Colon should retire in 2017.

The crazy part about Bartolo Colon is he has only gotten better with age. Very early in his career he was fantastic, consistently putting together 4.0+ WAR seasons. Then there was a dry stretch, and in the last six seasons Colon has had a resurgence. In fact, Colon ranks 23rd in WAR for pitchers in that stretch, which is all the more impressive as that was during his late 30s and early 40s.

Skill certainly isn’t the justification for Colon’s retirement, but age is. As David Ortiz showed us, there is nothing wrong with going out on a stellar season – instead of a dud like Derek Jeter‘s last season. As much as we all will hate to see him go, Bartolo Colon should retire as a Brave in 2017.

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1. Ichiro Suzuki

Heading into his last year under contract, Ichiro Suzuki should hang it up at season’s end as hit king. No, I don’t really recognize him as the all-time hit leader, as that does belong to Pete Rose, but MLB did beat into our minds that Ichiro leads when combining his Japanese hits with American hits. However, Ichiro has still been one of the greatest pure hitters we have seen in MLB, even holding the record for most hits in a season with 262.

Just like Bartolo Colon, father time is the key deciding factor for Ichiro to hang them up at season’s end. Ichiro will be 43 years old, and as a free agent with no other accolade to chase he should call it quits. He is a surefire Hall of Famer, perhaps the only on this list, and the only thing he is missing is a World Series ring. Ichiro shouldn’t let that be his reason to continue playing, as his numbers have diminished.

The fact of the matter is that Ichiro has reached the end of his production, as we can tell by his reduced workload. The numbers don’t lie, as Ichiro hasn’t garned 140 hits since 2011. While that is still a hearty amount, for a guy whose pivotal talent is hitting, he should have more. The instant those numbers shrink, the instant his value shrinks. As much as we all love his running swing, it definitely is time for Ichiro to call it quits after the 2017 season.

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