Former Texas Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and former Texas Rangers pitcher Dillon Gee each announced their retirements today. Saltalamacchia, 33, spent last season in the Detroit Tigers’ organization, appearing in 67 games at AAA Toledo and 5 games in the majors for Detroit. Gee, 32, pitched 4 games last year in Japan.
Saltalamacchia is, of course, the one of this pair whose stint with the Rangers is the most memorable. Saltalamacchia was portrayed as the centerpiece of the July 31, 2007, trade that sent Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Beau Jones. While that trade is seen as being a turning point for the Rangers’ franchise, Saltalamacchia didn’t live up to expectations in Texas, struggling both with the bat and behind the plate. He was eventually traded exactly three years later, on July 31, 2010, to the Boston Red Sox for Roman Mendez, Chris McGuiness, a player to be named later (who ended up being Michael Thomas), and cash. The cash from that deal was used by the then-in-bankruptcy-court Rangers to pay the signing bonus for their 14th round pick out of the University of Missouri, Nick Tepesch.
Salty had some success with the Red Sox post-trade, and then hit the open market after the 2013 season, cashing in with a 3 year, $21 million deal with the Miami Marlins. He didn’t perform in Miami, however, and was released in May, 2015, ultimately being picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He followed that up with a pair of stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers before his announcement today.
Gee, on the other hand, is a Texas native, born in Cleburne and drafted out of UT-Arlington, who came to Texas at the end of his career. Gee was a 21st round pick of the New York Mets in 2007, and was with them until the end of the 2015 season, when he signed with the Kansas City Royals as a free agent. The Rangers then signed Gee in January, 2017, released him at the end of camp, and then re-signed him to a renegotiated deal whereby he agreed to be optioned to the minors. Gee ended up being called up in late May, and after a scoreless debut, he gave up 10 runs in his next three outings, resulting in the Rangers releasing him. He finished out the 2017 season with the Twins.
Best of luck to both Gee and Saltalamacchia as they move on to the next chapter in their lives, after having been lucky enough to spend a number of years performing at the highest level of their sport.