Veteran relief pitcher David Phelps has retired

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Phelps was selected by the New York Yankees in the 14th round of the 2008 MLD Draft out of the University of Notre Dame. Four years later, he made his big league debut with the Yanks, recording two outs in a relief appearance against the Tampa Bay Rays.

As a rookie, Phelps quietly put together a very solid season in New York, posting a 3.34 ERA in 33 appearances, 11 of which were starts. He also made a few postseason appearances for the Yankees that year, allowing two earned runs over three and a half innings.

Phelps has been involved in some pretty big trades in his career. After the 2014 season, the Yankees traded him along with Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi, Domingo German and Garrett Jones. Three years later, the Marlins sent Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in a trade brokered by Pablo Lopez.

During spring training in 2018, Phelps tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and missed the entire season. The following offseason, Phelps signed a Show Me contract with the Blue Jays and finished with a 3.63 ERA over 17 appearances. The Blue Jays traded him to the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline in exchange for Thomas Hatch.

After spending the 2020 season with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Phelps rejoined the Blue Jays as a free agent. He played just 11 games before suffering a right side sprain that required surgery to repair it at the end of the season.

Despite the injury, the Blue Jays brought Phelps back for the 2022 season on a minor league deal and he earned a spot in the team’s bullpen. Over 63 2/3 innings, Phelps posted a 2.83 ERA while striking out 9.0 batters per nine innings.

Last January, Phelps spoke with Arden Zwelling about his decision to continue playing and how well the Blue Jays treated him during the process…

“Is this a crazy talented team? Absolutely. Is this a team that has the ability to win a World Series? I totally believe that. But I also wanted to be here because of the relationships and the quality of the individuals in the organization. From top to bottom I just had an amazing experience,” he says. “I was close. I played in seven different home stadiums. And when I think of the people I played with during the tournament, the Toronto group is special. You have the ability to do something very special.”

Phelps was a very effective reliever for the Blue Jays last season and his comeback story from a rare injury at his age was truly incredible.


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