Results tagged ‘ Jody Gerut ’
Veteran outfielder Jody Gerut, one of several players fighting for a backup role with the Mariners, instead made the surprising announcement Sunday morning that he’s retiring from baseball at age 33.
Gerut delivered an eloquent impromptu news conference in the team’s press room about three hours before the club’s opening game of Spring Training after informing the Mariners of his decision.
“Physically, I’m fine,” he said. “But mentally my reasons for wanting to be in uniform have become so thin and narrow that I refuse to disrespect the game that has provided so generously for my family by playing it in a half-hearted way.
“It was very clear that my capacity as a player was done, empty, finished.”
Gerut said he came to camp 11 days ago with every intention of competing for a job, but realized in the last 3-4 days that his competitive juices were gone.
“There was a sense of apathy that hadn’t been there,” he said. “And there souldn’t be apathy because there is opportunity here. … The last three days have been hollow. I’ve had a very clear voice in my head saying in this situation, you shouldn’t be out there in the capacity of a player who is representing a team and a city.”
Gerut was in his first training camp with the Mariners after signing as a non-roster invitee. He previously played for manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland from 2003-05 and said he was glad Wedge and his staff were in place at the end of his career as well.
The Mariners told him if he had a change of heart the door remained open, but he said he didn’t think that was going to happen.
“I’m human,” he said. “It’s possible I could have a change of heart. But I highly doubt it. To me, this is it.”
Gerut has a .262 career batting average with 59 home runs and 226 RBIs in 574 games with the Indians, Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Brewers. Gerut, who graduated from Stanford with a history degree, choked up when reading a prepared statement and then spoke from the heart for a very interesting 15 minutes in the impromptu session.
Here’s Gerut’s full statement:
Outfielder Jody Gerut, who spent the first three years of his Major League career playing for Eric Wedge and the Cleveland Indians, signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners on Thursday.
Also added on a similar deal was left-handed pitcher Nate Robertson. Both veterans will be among 19 non-roster players invited to the Mariners’ Major League Spring Training next month.
Gerut, 33, is a career .262 hitter in six Major League seasons. He’s been with the Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Brewers since his Cleveland days.
Gerut was with Milwaukee the past two seasons, but got just 71 at-bats in 32 games last season while hitting .197 with a pair of home runs before being sidelined two months with a bruised heel. He hit for the cycle on May 8 against Arizona.
The left-hander’s best seasons came in Cleveland, where he broke in with a bang as a rookie, hitting .279 with 22 home runs and 75 RBIs while finishing fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in ’03, Wedge’s first year as manager.
He tore his ACL the following season, however, and then was dealt twice in the span of two weeks right before the ’05 trade deadline, first to the Cubs and then the Pirates for Matt Lawton.
Gerut wound up missing the entire 2006-07 seasons and has been mostly a part-time player since undergoing surgeries on both knees. His best season since his rookie campaign came with the Padres in ’08 when he ht .296 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs in 328 at-bats.
The former Stanford product is capable of playing anywhere in the outfield, with most of his work coming in right and center field to this point.
I would expect he’ll be given a chance to show what he can do in left field, where young Michael Saunders is the returning starter and Milton Bradley also returns, as well as compete with non-roster invitee Ryan Langerhans as well as Greg Halman and other youngsters for backup duties across the board.
Robertson, 33, is a 6-foot-2 left hander with considerable American League starting experience. In nine seasons, he’s posted a 57-77 record with a 5.01 ERA in 223 games.
Robertson pitched for the Tigers from 2003-09, going 51-68 with a 4.78 ERA. He went 13-13 with a 3.84 ERA in his best season in Detroit in ’06.
Last year, earning $10 million in the final year of his contract, Robertson went 6-8 with a 5.75 ERA with the Marlins and Phillies. He’ll obviously need to prove his way back on to a Major League roster this year, but could have a chance in Seattle.
The Mariners have returning starters Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas and Doug Fister, plus rookie Michael Pineda and the oft-injured Erik Bedard, along with part-time starters David Pauley and Luke French.
Robertson gives Seattle another starting option at a low cost. It’s worth noting the left-hander has a 3-2 record and 2.75 ERA in six career starts at Safeco Field.