Brewers' Torres decides to retire

By Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel
Nov. 11, 2008 1:32 p.m. | I just spoke on the telephone with Brewers reliever Salomon Torres and he gave me some surprising news. Torres said he called general manager Doug Melvin today to announce he is retiring from baseball as an active player.

The Brewers had a $3.75 million option for 2009 on Torres, which they certainly would have exercised by the Saturday deadline after he emerged as their closer last season. But Torres said he wanted to take that out of Melvin's hands by telling him he was retiring.

"I wanted to make it easy for him," said Torres, 36, reached at home in Pittsburgh. "I already had made up my mind and wanted to tell him this was my last season."

Torres, a deeply religious man, said he wanted to devote more time to his wife and three children as well as his faith.

"It's time for me to dedicate more time to my family and my religion," said Torres. "Doug was very understanding, which I appreciate. I had a wonderful experience in Milwaukee but he knows I am serious about it."

The loss of Torres creates a huge hole in a bullpen already thinned by free agency. Torres took over for faltering closer Eric Gagne in late May and was a stalwart in the pen, saving a career-high 28 games in 32 appearances from that point (he was 28 for 35 overall).

Torres led the Brewers with 71 appearances and 80 innings out of the bullpen, compiling a 7-5 record and 3.49 ERA. His numbers were much better until a September fade in which he posted a 12.46 ERA over his last 10 outings.

Torres said the fact that he would walk away from the $3.75 million option shows how serious he is about retiring.

"It was a given (that the Brewers would exercise the option)," said Torres. "It's a small sacrifice I'm making. I know I'm doing the right thing. It might be a surprise to a lot of people and some might not understand, especially from a money standpoint. That shows you how determined I am to lead by life in another way."

Torres briefly thought of retiring after he was traded to the Brewers last December but decided to give it a shot in Milwaukee and said he was grateful for doing so, especially after experiencing the playoffs for the first time. He saved the Brewers only victory in the NLDS against Philadelphia, escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam.

"It was a great season," he said. "I thank everybody in the city -- the fans, my teammates, the reporters -- for all their support. It was a privilege to play there but you don't want to have me there half-hearted.

"This decision has been a long time coming. I'm happy I have the strength and faith to do it. This is the route I want to go."

Torres retired in August 1997 after pitching for Seattle and Montreal that season, but returned to baseball in 2002 after signing a minor league deal with Pittsburgh. Torres said he would not change his mind this time about leaving.

"I am very confident I am doing the right thing," he said.

With Gagne, Guillermo Mota and Brian Shouse all free agents, Melvin has to do some retooling of his bullpen, including finding a reliable closer.
while it's only torres i think the value of any closer (street, cordero, hoffman, etc) just went up.