Ex-Yankees closer retires after 12-year career

New York Yankees, Zack BRitton
Jul 28, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Zach Britton (53) pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning during game two of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Former New York Yankees relief pitcher and closer Zack Britton is calling it quits from a 12-year MLB career. Starting with the Baltimore Orioles back in 2011, Britton spent more than four seasons with the Yankees between 2018-2022. His best campaign with the team came in 2019 when he recorded a 1.91 ERA, including an 86.8% left-on-base rate, 77.2% ground ball rate and collected 7.78 strikeouts per nine across 61.1 innings.

Britton will finish his career with a 3.13 ERA and 3.54 FIP, including a 73.9% left-on-base rate, 66.7% ground-ball rate, and 9.8 collective WAR across 641 innings.

Britton Had a Successful Spell With the Yankees

At one point, Britton was one of the best closers in the game, and the Yankees got some good value out of him for a few seasons. Unfortunately, injuries took their toll, and he decided to spend more time with his family, a worthwhile cause.

“My last outing was against the Orioles. I threw a ball to the backstop as my last pitch; I think about that and it sucks,” said Britton, via The Athletic. “It might not have been perfect from a career standpoint or going out on a high note, but you don’t always get to pick. My gut was telling me it was time to see what life was like on the other side.”

Britton referenced the ugly side of the game, spending a significant amount of time away from family and friends, and while the financial award is worth it to a degree, it is still a difficult job.

“I would (tell myself) it really eats away at your friendships and your family. Everyone talks about the money and obviously, the reward is worth it because you get to be done playing young and take care of your family and parents. (But that) doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult. I think the best thing that happened to me was having (my wife) Courtney, even though I struggled mentally to be present and not think about baseball all the time. The most important part is the people you surround yourself with away from the game because this sport can be brutally honest.”

Being able to step back and enjoy time with his four children should enrich his life further, but a successful MLB career won’t be forgotten.

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