The Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of Major League Baseball are ramping up towards Opening Weekend. While teams prepare to play, one player has decided to call it a career.
Back in 2017, the Pittsburgh Pirates were just starting their downward spiral toward the bottom of the division. The team’s Front Office did not make the moves that they needed to make to stay competitive after the playoff years. Furthermore, 2017 would mark the last season that Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole would play in Pittsburgh.
However, one of the under the radar-bright spots was when they acquired right-handed reliever George Kontos. Kontos was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in August of 2017. The Bucs acquired him after the San Francisco Giants placed him on waivers. That year he posted a 3.83 ERA in 50 games for the Giants, who he had been with since 2012.
Kontos’ Pittsburgh Pirates career spanned from August of 2017 to May of 2018 and totaled 36 games. He had a very good start to his career in Pittsburgh but could not sustain his success into the next season. He has now retired from Major League Baseball officially. Alex Pavlovic on NBC Sports broke the news that Kontos would be joining the Giants’ pre and post-game show. Kontos confirmed that he is indeed retiring and put out a post on what the game has meant to him:
While he was not terrible with the Giants, Kontos quickly made them regret giving him up. He finished the year by appearing in 15 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kontos pitched to a 1.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14.2 innings.
Kontos’ performance earned him a spot in the team’s bullpen in 2018 and actually was penciled in to be the setup man. Things did not go as smoothly for him. He opened the year with the team and pitched in 21 total games, pitching to a 5.03 ERA. Furthermore, he only had nine strikeouts in 19.2 innings of work. The Bucs eventually DFA’d him at the end of May and the Indians claimed him.