Clement says his playing days are over
Jeff Clement’s playing days are over.
Clement, a 2002 Marshalltown High School graduate and former first-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners, told The Des Moines Register on Monday that he has decided to retire from baseball.
An All-American catcher at Southern California, Clement remains the national high school home run leader after hitting 75 round-trippers during his time as a Bobcat.
The Mariners selected Clement with the third overall pick in a loaded 2005 draft, but injuries derailed a potentially promising career in the big leagues.
Clement, now 30 years old, spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues with the Mariners and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but never developed into the everyday player he seemed destined to be. He played in 152 major league games, finishing with a .218 batting average, 14 home runs and 39 RBIs.
In 2013, he signed a minor-league deal with the Minnesota Twins and accepted an invitation to their spring training camp, but he never made it out of the team’s Triple-A club in Rochester, N.Y. Clement played 123 games in the minors last season but never saw action with the Twins.
“I was open to playing again this season and didn’t get the opportunity that I was hoping to get,” Clement told Tommy Birch of the Register. “There were some, just nothing that I could really pull the trigger on.”
“I think it was just time to move on,” Clement said.
In 2,650 career minor league games, Clement compiled 193 doubles, 11 triples, 108 home runs and 448 RBIs over a nine-year career.
Clement was part of a stacked draft class that included Justin Upton as the top overall pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Alex Gordon to the Kansas City Royals. Clement was followed in the draft by Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals, Ryan Braun went at No. 5 to the Milwaukee Brewers, and Troy Tulowitzki was the seventh selection by the Colorado Rockies.
“I feel like I greatly underachived, just to put it frankly,” Clement told Birch.