Listen up, baseball fans and General Managers. If your team needs a closer – and I’m looking at you, Devil Rays, Reds, and Marlins – you best go take your chances with Armando Benitez or sell the farm over to Jim Bowden and the Washington Nationals for Chad Cordero, ’cause a quality reliever’s career officially ended today. And it’s not your prototypical retirement either.
Former journeyman closer, Ugueth Urbina, was convicted and sentenced to fourteen years in prison in his home country of Venezuela on the charges of attempted murder, “illegal deprivation of liberty and violating a prohibition against taking justice into his own hands,” according to ESPN.com. Almost two years ago, Urbina, among a group of men, allegedly attacked a group of ranch hands with machetes, then doused them in gasoline with the next logical step being to set them ablaze – all over them bathing in his pool without his permission.
Urbina claims that he was asleep when the attack occurred and, naturally, he could not have taken part in the assault. Also, he maintains that the incident between them ended with only harsh words. Now both Urbina and his agent, Peter Greenberg, hope the legal process will eventually come to prove the pitcher’s innocence.
Not that his statistics matter much in prison, but Urbina is thirtieth on the all time saves list with 237, spread out among six teams (Montreal, Boston, Texas, Detroit, Florida, and Philadelphia) in his eleven seasons in the big leagues. He was the closer on the 2003 World Champion Florida Marlins, saving two games in the World Series against the Yankees.