In a statement via his social media page on Instagram and shared with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, former Cleveland Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer announced that he is walking away from Major League Baseball.
“As I sit here and think about my baseball journey, the word fortunate comes to mind. For the past 30 years of my life I’ve been unbelievably fortunate to be able to play the game of baseball and live out a childhood dream. That’s why it’s hard writing the word retirement. It’s stirred up so many feelings, but also given me time for reflection.
I’m so grateful for the life baseball has given me. I met my wife and raised three children in the game, made friendships that will last a lifetime, played on some amazing teams, and traveled the world making memories.
It was always easy but it was worth it. The struggles, the sacrifice, the tears of frustration, the hit by pitches ;), all the injuries and rehab were worth it for the camaraderie, the triumphs, the successes, and the pure joy of playing the best game in the world.
None of it would have been possible without all my former teammates, coaches, trainers, friends, and family. Thank you all for being by my side during this amazing ride.
My baseball journey is far from over. I may not be on the diamond anymore, but my work off of it is just beginning. Stay tuned for the next chapter, where I’ll share all that I’ve learned with the next generation of athletes through my online training platform, FullyEquippedAthlete.com.
Guyer spent two and a half of his seven big league seasons with the Indians, including his final MLB games in 2018.
A fifth round pick by the Cubs out of the University of Virginia in 2007, the West Chester, Pennsylvania, product spent four years in the Chicago farm system before he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in an eight-player swap early in 2011. He debuted for the Rays that May, playing in 15 games, and he made three more appearances in an injury-shortened 2012 before spending all of 2013 in the minors.
He saw more consistent time on the big league roster in 2014 and 2015 for the Rays, posting a steady .266 average over those two years while showing an unusual knack for getting hit by pitches. He was plunked 24 times in 128 games in 2015, leading the American League.
Guyer was on the move in 2016 as he was picked up by the Tribe as a platoon outfield option while the team braced for the postseason push. After getting hit 23 times in his first 63 games that year with the Rays, he added eight more in 38 games of action with Cleveland (to give him an MLB-leading 31) while hitting .333 to post a healthy .438 on-base percentage for the year. He had three hits and scored a pair of runs in his only game in the American League Division Series against Boston that year and he added two singles, a double, four walks, and two hit by pitches while appearing in all seven games of the World Series against his former Cubs club.
Guyer was limited to 70 games in 2017 as the injuries impacting his career continued to pile up. He was a more regular part of the Indians lineup in 2018, appearing in 103 games while also making his big league pitching debut, throwing a perfect ninth inning in a 9-3 loss against Minnesota.
At the age of 33, Guyer returned to Chicago in 2019, joining the White Sox on a minor league pact, but he did not make the roster and played in just 16 minor league games for the Sox’s Triple-A affiliate in April before landing on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. He signed with the San Francisco Giants this February and was in spring camp with the big league squad this year, hitting a double and getting hit by a pitch in five official games. He was released by the team just before the roster freeze implemented by the shutdown of MLB activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the course of seven big league seasons, Guyer posted a .250/.339/.388 slash with 72 doubles, five triples, 32 homers, and 137 RBI while getting hit by 85 pitches (amounting to 5.7% of his total plate appearances, or once every 17.5 trips).
Remembered best as a “Human Piñata” during his time in Cleveland, Guyer will now move on to the next (and hopefully less painful) phase of his baseball life as he looks to enjoy time with family and educating the next wave of potential talent to step onto the diamond. Best wishes to Guyer and best of luck on his new venture as part of the next step of his baseball journey.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images