Thursday, February 8, 2018

Matt Murton & Colby Lewis

Two former MLB players announced their retirements in the past few weeks and since both spent time in NPB I thought I'd do a quick post on them.

Matt Murton was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2003 draft by the Red Sox out of the Georgia Institute of Technology but he was only in Boston's organization for about a year.  He was traded to the Cubs along with Nomar Garciaparra in the four team trade that brought Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera back to the Sox.  He made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2005 and bounced between AAA and the majors for much of the next three seasons before he was traded (along with Josh Donaldson and a couple other guys) to Oakland in the middle of the 2008 season for Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden.  He was traded again to Colorado prior to the 2009 season which he again split between AAA and the majors.  He was released by the Rockies after the season and ended up signing with the Hanshin Tigers.

He spent six seasons with the Tigers.  He broke Ichiro Suzuki's single season hits record in his first season in Japan and led the Central League in hits again in 2011 and 2013.  He also had a 30 game hitting streak in 2011, the most ever by a foreign player in NPB and the fourth highest ever at the time.  He won the 2013 CL Batting Crown, was named to the Best 9 team four times (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) and the All Star team the same four years.  He played in one Nippon Series in 2014 when the Tigers lost to the Hawks.

He returned to the US and the Cubs, signing a minor league deal with the team for the 2016 season.  He spent the entire season in AAA and then was released.  He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers - Detroit this time - for the 2017 season but was injured after only 7 games in AAA.  He announced his retirement about a month ago.  He'll be taking a front office job with the Cubs.

2010 BBM 1st Version #134

2011 BBM 1st Version #339

2011 Calbee #124

2012 BBM 1st Version #375

2013 Calbee #183

2014 Tigers Original Player Card #23

2015 BBM Tigers #T59

2015 Calbee #054
Colby Lewis was a first round pick of the Rangers in 1999 out of Bakersfield College.  He made his MLB debut in 2002 with Texas.  He was picked up by Detroit off of waivers after the 2004 season.  He missed the entire 2005 season due to rotator cuff surgery.  After splitting 2006 between AAA and the majors he left Detroit as a free agent.  He signed a minor league deal with the Nats in November 2006 but was released by them four months later.  He then signed with the Athletics and again split the season between AAA and the majors.  He was claimed by the Royals off of waivers in early November 2007 but released by them a month later.  He then signed a deal with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Lewis spent two seasons in Hiroshima.  He led the Central League in strikeouts both seasons and was named to the All Star team in both seasons as well (although he declined to participate in the 2008 games).  He went 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA in 2008 and 11-9 with a 2.96 ERA in 2009.

He resigned with the Rangers in time for the 2010 season and remained with them for the rest of his career.  He pitched in the World Series for Texas in both 2010 and 2011.  He apparently announced his retirement a few months back because his Wikipedia page says his new job is special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and he was hired back in November.

2008 BBM 2nd Version #596

2008 BBM All Stars #A07

2009 BBM 1st Version #326

2009 Calbee "Opening Day Pitcher" #OP-10

2009 BBM Carp Promo #SP1

2010 BBM 1st Version #454

1 comment:

Tony Burbs said...

I missed that Murton had announced his retirement and that he was taking a job in the Cubs FO - he must like Chicago! I must say that this selfishly pleases me, as Murton was one of my favorites after his solid first couple of seasons with the Cubs. Nevertheless, it still blows my mind that he went on to become an all-time great in Japan. It's too bad that it never seemed like he got a real shot to stick in the MLB.