Tag: Mark Mulder

Mark Mulder Released by Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Pitcher Mark Mulder hoped to make a return to baseball after five years away, but unfortunately his Cinderella story won’t have a fairy tale ending.     

According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made the decision to release Mulder on Tuesday:

Mulder’s ouster comes on the heels of an Achilles injury during spring training. Per the Associated Press, via ESPN.com, the injury was suffered during an agility drill and ultimately amounted to bad luck on Mulder’s part:

It wasn’t anything new. I wasn’t going that hard at all. I was backpedaling and I stopped to plant to go forward and hear a loud pop. I almost fell forward and was confused. I thought my shoe broke. I thought the heel popped out of my shoe. I felt like the ball of my foot wasn’t attached to my foot. I tried to take a step because I couldn’t process at all what was going on. I couldn’t really move.

As seen in this photo courtesy of Mulder’s Instagram account, the injury is significant to say the least.

(Warning: Image may be graphic for some):

Battling back from an Achilles injury is difficult for anyone, let alone a 36-year-old pitcher who hasn’t played since 2008. With the 2014 season out of the question for Mulder, it was only a matter of time before the Angels cut bait.

The big question now relates to whether Mulder will make another run at it in 2015. It may seem like a long shot in the wake of such a big injury, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia would love to see him try, according to the Associated Press’ report:

This guy worked too hard and not only worked hard, but he was legitimately throwing the ball close to where he was in his prime which was really encouraging. We were really excited about it … I hope he’s not going to give up, but it’s an incredible setback and it’s tough. He was too close to quit on it and hopefully when he gets his surgery he can start again and make that comeback.

Nobody is more disappointed than Mulder that his comeback bid ended in such abrupt fashion, but former Oakland Athletics teammate Tim Hudson hated to see it happen as well, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com:

Along with Hudson and Barry Zito, Mulder helped form one of the best starting pitching trios in baseball during the early-to-mid 2000s with the A’s.

Mulder was a two-time All-Star and finished second in the American League Cy Young voting in 2001 when he went 21-8, setting a career high for wins in a season.

The crafty lefty enjoyed five strong seasons in Oakland before playing four more with the St. Louis Cardinals. A shoulder injury plagued Mulder while with the Cards, though, and ultimately led to his initial retirement.

Few people were giving Mulder a legitimate chance to make it back to the big leagues, but he certainly seemed to be in position to do so prior to the injury. Unfortunately, his body simply couldn’t hold up after so many years away.

As nice as it would be to see Mulder make another attempt at coming back in 2015, it may ultimately be best for him to call it career so as not to risk further injury.

If nothing else, at least he can take solace in knowing that he gave it his best shot.


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Can Mark Mulder Return to MLB and Be Effective After Six-Year Layoff?

Former Major League Baseball pitcher, and current ESPN baseball analyst, Mark Mulder announced he is attempting a return to baseball, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

Mulder retired in 2009 after two surgeries on his left shoulder and after having realized he couldn’t pitch at a high level again:

But things changed in October when Mulder watched Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez on TV and found something in Rodriguez’s delivery that he could emulate. Mulder spent the month of November working himself into shape at a Phoenix-area facility run by former big-league catcher Chad Moeller, and recently threw off the mound for three unspecified teams near his home in Scottsdale.

Mulder said scouts clocked him at 89-90 mph, according to Crasnick‘s story, which makes him very excited—”I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am,” Mulder said by phone Tuesday. “To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Paco Rodriguez in my living room.”

But the question is, can Mulder return to MLB and be effective after a six-year layoff?


Mulder’s Career

During his career, Mulder went 103-60 with a 4.18 ERA and 834 strikeouts for the St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Athletics.

His best year came in 2001 when he went 21-8 with a 3.45 ERA and 153 strikeouts. It was also a year where he finished runner-up in the AL Cy Young race, losing to Roger Clemens.

He was a part of Oakland’s “Big Three” pitchers that included Barry Zito and Tim Hudson.

In 2004, fresh off a 17-8 season with a 4.43 ERA, Mulder was traded to St. Louis for Dan Haren, Daric Barton and Kiko Calero.

In his first season in St. Louis, Mulder was impressive, going 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA. The next season started out just as good, as Mulder won five of his first six decisions.

Then, the trouble started. He struggled the rest of the year and had two separate stints on the disabled list. In total, he finished the year 1-6 with a 13.64 ERA in his final eight starts.

Another surgery in the offseason limited Mulder to three starts at the end of 2007 in which he gave up 15 earned runs in 11 innings. By the end of 2008, the Cardinals bought out Mulder’s contract, and he hasn’t played a game since.


Bullpen is Best Place

The biggest question is, would you use Mulder as a starter or reliever?

With obvious shoulder issues in the past, the best bet for Mulder would be as a reliever. That would put less strain on his arm and wouldn’t force him to work as hard in any given day.

With that in mind, we’ve seen in the past that some of the best relievers are former starting pitchers. John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley are two pitchers that come to mind.

But unlike both of those pitchers, Mulder’s issue was with a shoulder, which isn’t always the easiest fix. Far more pitchers have come back successfully from Tommy John surgery than from multiple shoulder surgeries. Smoltz dealt with Tommy John, while Eckersley was moved to the bullpen due to poor performance.

Both thrived in the bullpen, but neither had to deal with a six-year layoff like Mulder is doing.


Mixed Reaction and Final Thoughts

There is a mixture of reaction on Twitter, concerning Mulder’s comeback attempt:

It’s hard to say whether Mulder will succeed or not. The only way we will find out is if a team gives him a shot to earn a roster spot in spring training.

Regardless of whether anyone believes he can come back or not, he will get that shot and have a chance to prove that he can still pitch at a high level.

A lot of people will be rooting for him to succeed. But even if he doesn’t, he’s going to inspire people to remember to never let their dreams die.

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Former All-Star Pitcher Mark Mulder Attempting MLB Comeback at Age 36

Mark Mulder reportedly wants to attempt a comeback to Major League Baseball.

The former starting pitcher and current ESPN analyst hasn’t stepped on an MLB mound since 2008, but according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, he was encouraged after watching Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez’s delivery during the 2013 playoffs.

Mulder told Crasnick:

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am. To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Paco Rodriguez in my living room.

Crasnick added that Mulder is hitting 89-90 on the radar gun.

Mulder spent the first five years of his career with the Oakland Athletics. During that time, he amassed an 81-42 record and a 3.92 ERA in 1,003 innings. He was named to two All-Star teams (2003 and 2004) and finished second in the 2001 Cy Young voting.    

A trade to the St. Louis Cardinals marked the beginning of his career decline, however. He made 32 starts his first year in St. Louis in 2005, going 16-8, but would make just 21 more over the next three seasons. Injuries forced him out of the game in 2008 and led to his retirement in 2010.

For those who forget how good Mulder was in his prime, HardballTalk’s Matthew Pouliot noted how well the former ace began his career.

It will be interesting to see how successful the comeback attempt is. Mulder was always known for his great command, rather than overpowering opposing hitters, so it’s not as if he’ll have to completely change what kind of pitcher he is.

If a 49-year-old Jamie Moyer can find a job, you’d have to believe somebody will take a flier on Mulder this offseason.

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