A former Atlanta Braves player opts to retire

Former Gwinnett Braves pitcher Rob Wooten during a visit to the mound as a Brewer in 2014. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Former Gwinnett Braves pitcher Rob Wooten during a visit to the mound as a Brewer in 2014. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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To be sure, this ‘Atlanta Braves’ player wasn’t with the organization very long.  But his choice today could be one of many this Spring.

The name Rob Wooten won’t be a household term recognized by many fans.  In fact, his days in the Atlanta Braves organization were limited to a 2016 role at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Still, he credited the Braves along with the Reds and Brewers – his ‘primary’ teams – when he announced today that he’s hanging up the spikes.

Wooten had three stints in the majors all with Milwaukee from 2013-15.  Between 2009 and last season, he had bounced around the minors from the AA level and higher.

In 2016, he pitched a near-career-high 73 innings at Gwinnett with a 3.58 ERA and showing excellent control (1.36 BB/9) in 35 appearances.  But he didn’t get a call-up with the Braves and moved on to the Reds for the next three seasons – all in the minors.

At this point, Wooten is well past his 34th birthdate, and his prospects for anything productive in baseball seem to have evaporated – particularly thanks to the current climate.

Even with expanded rosters, the notion that players like Wooten might be able to make ‘one last splash’ was already a long shot.  Now with a hiatus to the sport that might at least another month, Wooten represents the kind of athlete who has read the tea leaves and figured out that the time has come to start the next phase of his life.

The point here is that he probably won’t be the only one.  Evan Gattis announced his official retirement earlier this year, too, but his was different – that was before things got squirrely.

https://twitter.com/MiLB/status/1251638517094133760

Wooten represents the kind of depth veterans that many teams pick up over the Winter months to ensure that their major (sometimes) and minor (usually) league squads have mentors and gap-fillers for the year.  Such players often carry the hope of a major league chance.

This year?  Probably not, given the shorter season and the long layoff.  That could mean teams end up with a few fewer veteran choices like Wooten once baseball finally restarts.

Will it make a difference?  Probably not in a quantifiable way.  But if Wooten’s example is indeed followed by more Quad-A pitchers (or even position players), then it will be a loss to the game for a time:  loss of experience, loss of some quality (and quality depth), and a loss of role models.

Next. Recap time ... from a bit of history.. dark

We wish Wooten all the best as he moves on with his life – and regret that he had to make this call under circumstances such as these.  The game was still better with ‘lifers’ like him around.

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