Scott Eyre was a little disappointed at first when the Phillies offered him a minor league deal, rather than a guaranteed contract and spot on the active roster. But as time passed, the veteran lefty understood the club's position. And, more importantly, he began to realize his own.
"I think now when I think about it, if he came to me and offered me the same contract I had last year," said Eyre, who earned $2 million while serving as the Phillies most reliable left-handed arm out of the bullpen, "I don't think I'd take it."
Instead, Eyre has decided to retire - at least for now - and spend the summer taking RV trips with his family and attending his wife's horse shows.
He was one of those memorable bit players that every championship team possesses, a fun-loving, easy-going southpaw who joined the Phillies in August of 2008 after having been cast aside from the Cubs. In 19 appearances in 2008, he allowed just three runs and eight hits. In the Phillies' World Series victory over the Rays, he recorded just two outs, but they were big ones: a strikeout of Akinori Iwamura in Game 3 with a runner on first and the Phils leading 4-3 to end the seventh inning, and a line-out off the bat of Iwamura with one out and runners on first and second and the Phillies leading 6-2 in the seventh inning of Game 4.
Last year, he went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 1.267 WHIP in 42 appearances, then pitched through elbow pain to allow just one run in 4 1/3 postseason innings. Eyre had surgery after the season to remove loose bodies in his elbow, part of the reason why the Phillies were hesitant to offer him a guaranteed deal.
Eyre, a former Giants reliever, said he used to tell his wife that he would never play in a better city than San Francisco. And while he admits the Phillies' 2008 title probably skews his judgment, he nevertheless has re-assessed his previous position.
"It's the atmosphere, the people," said Eyre, a ninth round draft pick of the Rangers in 1991 who has a 4.23 ERA in 617 games over 13 seasons. "Yeah, I did pitch OK. I pitched pretty well I think in my tenure as a Phillies - I had as much fun there as I did anywhere I played."
Eyre did not explicitly rule out a return to the field one day, saying his two sons both want him to play another year, but he said he has ruled out pitching anywhere besides Philadelphia.
So there could be a chance that August rolls around and the Phillies find themselves in need of a veteran arm and Eyre finds himself itching to play. For now, though, he is content to sail into the sunset.
Rather, he says, "RV into the sunset."