According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, 36-year-old shortstop Edgar Renteria is leaning towards retiring this season. After hitting just .251/.306/.348 in 96 games with Cincinnati and receiving nothing but minor league offers this offseason, perhaps it isn’t surprising. If he indeed chooses to retire, it will be the end of a 16-year career spanning seven teams, two World Series championships and five all-star game appearances.
Renteria’s time as an effective regular has been over for a few years now, but from 2002 to 2007 the Colombian native carved out a fine peak between the Cardinals and Braves (with one disappointing year with the Red Sox thrown in). Over these six seasons Renteria posted a solid .303/.361/.434 line (good for a 107 wRC+ even in the tail end of the steroid era) while fielding a solid shortstop — consistently above average according to the dreaded metrics, Gold Glove worthy according to much-maligned voters. In all, Renteria put up a total of 23.7 WAR in those four years including his best season.
Following his time with the Braves, Renteria struggled to make an impact in Detroit and again in San Francisco. By his second season as a Giant, he was relegated to a bench role, playing in just 72 games despite hitting a respectable .276/.332/.374. The Giants would go on to win the NL West in 2010, and Renteria would initially serve a bench role on the postseason roster. First he went 2-for-2 in pinch-hitting roles in the NLDS victory over the Braves — his only two at-bats of the series. Then he earned four starts in the six-game NLCS against the Phillies, limping to a 1-for-17 series line.
But somehow, the greatest games and greatest moments of Renteria’s career were still to come. Then 35 years old, Renteria would earn the start in all five games of the Giants’ World Series victory over the Rangers, going 7-for-17 with two home runs — a three-run home run in the clinching Game Five represented the Giants’ only runs of the game — and earning the World Series MVP award.
Last season with Cincinnati, however, Renteria looked like a hitter struggling to deal with the effects of aging. In 333 plate appearances, he managed just a .291 wOBA despite the righty-friendly confines of Great American Ballpark. Particularly after his crowning World Series achievements in 2010, Renteria has little left to prove or accomplish in Major League Baseball. Renteria won’t be earning induction into the Hall-of-Fame five years nor twenty years down the road, but he leaves behind a fine legacy and some great moments nonetheless.
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