At the young age of 33, Brandon Webb‘s baseball career has officially come to an end.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the news of the ex-Cy Young winner’s retirement comes from his agents, who said that the veteran sinkerballer has chosen for focus his attention on his family instead of another attempt to get back on the major league mound.
The righty has been out of the big leagues since 2010, when a number of shoulder surgeries derailed his career. The lifetime member of the Arizona Diamondbacks has made a number of attempts to get back to the league over the years, with his last attempt being with the Texas Rangers minor league system in 2012.
Although that attempt has fallen short, Webb will leave knowing that he was one of the very best in the league any time he stepped on the mound. Though he was never a hard thrower, Webb developed his sinker as an elite weapon in the game, generating ground balls at a 64.2% rate in his career – an unparalleled number among MLB starters between 2003 to 2009.
Webb’s three straight seasons of 6.0+ fWAR between 2006 to 2008 made him the second-most valuable starter over the three years, trailing only behind C.C. Sabathia and landing ahead of some of the generation’s greatest, like Roy Halladay. The righty was named to the All Star team in each of those seasons, on top of being named the NL Cy Young winner in 2006.
Even among workhorse aces, Webb was among the very best, even if he didn’t have the type of strikeout stuff that some of his peers had. That fact may have had to do with his eventual health problems, as Webb led the likes of Halladay and Johan Santana in innings pitched between 2006-2008 – and we’ve seen how injuries have affected both Doc and Santana in recent years.
Still, that there were as many as six teams rumored to be in on his services this Spring should tell you just how unique Webb’s skills were. Unfortunately, the multiple surgeries were something that the former ace could not ultimately overcome, and the career of one of the Diamondback’s all-time start has been cut short.