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Many stars from the 2009 World Series played in final game in 2016

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

The 2009 World Series was probably one of the more loaded recent matchups in terms of star power. The series featured Hall of Fame caliber players like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Robinson Cano, Pedro Martinez (already a Hall of Famer), Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. It featured players who, at their peaks, were among the game's very best, in Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Andy Pettitte. 

Coincidentally, seven years later some of those who played in the 2009 World Series seem to be connected in another way. A large chunk of the cores of both teams may have played the final games of their respective careers in 2016, including three former league MVPs. 

Locks or very likely

  • Mark Teixeira - The 36-year-old announced 2016 as his final season earlier this summer and seems to be finished. The three-time All-Star spent his final eight seasons in the league with the Yankees and finished his career with 409 home runs and 1,298 RBIs. 
  • Alex Rodriguez - Though the door still seems to be open for a possible return, Rodriguez's career probably ended when the Yankees released him after their August 12 game against the Boston Red Sox. While Rodriguez slashed just .200/.247/.351 in 2016 and can't play third base anymore, he hit 33 home runs as recently as 2015 and is just four home runs away from 700 and less than 20 away from passing Babe Ruth for third all-time. So while his career is probably over, you can't entirely close the book on him. 
  • Jimmy Rollins - After making the Chicago White Sox out of Spring Training, Rollins was released on June 15 after batting just .221 in 41 games. While there has been no indication that he plans to retire, there was none that he looked to continue playing after his release. Rollins had a few guest appearances on FS1 during the regular seasons and worked on TBS' recently concluded playoff coverage, perhaps a sign that he's transitioning into the next phase of his life. 
  • Shane Victorino - In the past three seasons, Victorino has played just 101 games, including not playing in the big leagues in 2016. While Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball suggested late in the season that Victorino hoped to try to come back one more time in 2017, he sounded non-committal in a recent interview with Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice.
  • Nick Swisher -  Swisher had some mild success with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate this year before deciding to take the rest of the season off in July. Like Victorino, Swisher is 35, at a career crossroads and hasn't decided to formally retire. The guess here is that like Victorino, Swisher won't play in the majors again. 
  • Ryan Howard - While Howard rebounded to some degree in the second half, his 25 home runs weren't enough to make up for his .196 average, 31.5 percent strike out percentage or .257 on-base percentage. The Phillies will decline Howard's 2017 options making him a free-agent for the first time, with all 15 National League teams seemingly out of the Howard sweepstakes before they even start. From there, Howard may get a minor league deal with an American League team, but it's hard to see a team justifying keeping him on the 25-man roster when he seemingly can only DH against right-handed pitchers. 

Outside chances

  • Chase Utley - Utley will turn 38 in December and hit just .107 in the postseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Utley said earlier this summer that he hoped to continue playing in 2017 and hitting .252 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in 2016 should allow Utley to continue his career if he still feels that way. Of course, he may feel differently now and considering he will be a free-agent, it's possible he won't want to continue playing if the Dodgers don't retain him.  
  • Carlos Ruiz - While it's difficult to imagine the Dodgers picking up Ruiz's $4.5 million option for 2017, Ruiz had a nice bounce-back 2016 between the Phillies and Dodgers, so it is possible that the Dodgers bring Ruiz back as their backup catcher in 2017 or another team signs him. Ruiz will also turn 38 in January, which is ancient for a catcher, so he could choose to retire. 
  • Kyle Kendrick - Kendrick didn't play in the MLB in 2016, but spent a majority of his time with the Los Angeles Angels organization at Triple-A. He's only 32, so the guess here is that he could be reinvented, or moved back to the bullpen, where he may be able to have a Joe Blanton-like career turnaround. If not, it's possible he could get some spot starts in the majors over the next few years, but there's an outside chance that he doesn't appear at the major league level again. 


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