Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s retirement reminds us that there are very few players remaining in MLB who were part of the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series team.
2013 doesn’t seem that long ago. Only a handful of years separate the last two World Series titles captured by the Boston Red Sox yet the landscape across major league baseball has changed drastically in that short span.
Former Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia announced his retirement this week, bringing an end to his 12-year career. The news brought to light a shocking revelation that there are very few members of that 2013 championship team still playing in the majors.
Five players who made their Red Sox debut in 2013 are still with the organization. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. Brock Holt, Steven Wright, and Brandon Workman all made appearances during Boston’s championship run that season yet none of them tallied 100+ at-bats or 50+ innings pitched.
Ten position players who received 100+ at-bats with the 2013 team are now officially retired or weren’t on a major league roster last season. The list includes Saltalamacchia, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp, and David Ross.
That group doesn’t account for Dustin Pedroia or Jacoby Ellsbury, both of whom are still on rosters yet missed all or most of the 2018 season due to injuries. It’s anyone’s guess how much either will contribute to their respective teams this season – if they play at all.
That leaves Jose Iglesias as the only other position player to appear in 40+ games with the Red Sox in 2013 who is still active. The slick-fielding shortstop appeared in 125 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2018. He’s a free agent now but the 29-year old should be able to latch on somewhere next season.
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The picture isn’t all that brighter for the pitchers. Jon Lester is still going strong but the same can’t be said for the rest of the 2013 rotation. John Lackey, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, and mid-season acquisition Jake Peavy combined for 95 starts that season and they are all retired now. Clay Buchholz, who started 16 games that year, pitched well for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season when he was healthy (a rarity throughout his career). The 34-year old is a now a free agent receiving only mild interest in a slow market.
Alfredo Aceves and Franklin Morales made spot starts for the Red Sox in 2013 but are out of the majors now. Allen Webster was out of the league for two years before tossing three innings of relief for the Chicago Cubs last season. That barely counts, especially since he’s not being counted on to be part of their big league club this season.
Seven pitchers tossed 25+ innings out of the Red Sox bullpen that season. Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Clayton Mortensen, and Andrew Bailey are all retired. Remember the brief stints made by Drake Britton, Matt Thornton, Rubby De La Rosa, and Joel Hanrahan? Distant memories for pitchers who are long gone.
Alex Wilson is still pitching for the Tigers and Andrew Miller signed a free agent deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Junichi Tazawa agreed to a minor league deal with the Cubs but he’s a longshot to see time in the big leagues again. The last few years have shown the 32-year old’s arm has little left in the tank.
The number of players who spent significant time with the 2013 World Series champs and seem likely to appear in the majors in 2019 is down to single digits. That’s surprising considering it wasn’t that long ago. It makes you wonder how many members of the 2018 title team will still be around in 2023.