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Scot Shields retires after 10 years as elite, underrated reliever

Mar 18, 2011, 3:20 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees Getty Images

Scot Shields was said to be pondering retirement throughout the offseason and the longtime Angels setup man officially called it quits today after a 10-year career in which he threw 697 innings with a 3.18 ERA.

Because he never got a chance to be a full-time closer Shields was almost always overlooked during discussions of the game’s top relievers, but his seven-year run from 2002-2008 was remarkable in its consistent excellence.

In those seven seasons he won 45 games with a 2.98 ERA while logging an average of 90 innings per year, striking out 573 batters while allowing just 520 hits.

Even with two ineffective, injury wrecked seasons to end his career Shields still finishes with a 3.18 ERA, which trails only Mariano Rivera (2.23), Billy Wagner (2.31), Francisco Rodriguez (2.50), Joe Nathan (2.75), and Trevor Hoffman (2.87) among active (as of 2010) relievers with at least 500 innings. He was an incredibly durable, elite reliever who rarely got the credit he deserved because of the game’s obsession with saves.

  1. Lukehart80 - Mar 18, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    He joins:

    Brad Radke (Twins)
    Bill Wegman (Brewers)
    Teddy Higuera (Brewers)
    Scott Garrelts (Giants)

    as the only pitchers in the last 30 years to pitch for at least 10 seasons and finish their career having played for just one team.

  2. JB (the original) - Mar 19, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    I’m curious (and too lazy to go looking); for as good as he was, as long as he was, being in that low money, no-mans-land of middle relief, how’d he do monetarily over his career? I guess what I’m speculating is compared to what he made, what if he had the same numbers, but was a “closer”? Big financial disparity between what he and “closers” he played with made during their careers?

  3. fatcatt - Mar 19, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    This guy was good and he was recognized by the true baseball fan upon retiring. When i heard I though “thats to bad. A great pitcher who got no honors and played the game the right way. An invaluable guy to have on a team”. Hard working, middle class, Made in Amearica.. Good luck Scot!

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