Former Pirate Ian Snell Retires (No, Seriously)

SB Nation's own Rob Neyer has the scoop that former Bucco Ian Snell has decided to retire at the age of 29. Snell was currently in the St. Louis Cardinals' Spring Training camp.

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It's easy to remember Snell as the pitcher that just couldn't get over the hump. He had two mildly successful teams with the Pirates and looked like he was a good young pitcher. In 2006 at the age of 24, Snell went 14-11, had a 169 strikeouts in 186 innings, and a 4.74 ERA. He had the makings of a future ace, but that's when things started to go downhill.

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First, there was his shot at the City of Pittsburgh at the end of the season. Pittsburgh obviously would have forgiven him if he kept performing, but we all know how that turned out.

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He was able to temporarily keep fans on his side, though, by lowering his ERA by nearly a full run (3.76) in 2007. 25-year old pitcher with an ERA under 4.00 - Snell was starting to look like a keeper.

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But in 2008, his ERA ballooned to 5.42 and his strikeouts declined for the second straight season (albeit, ever so slightly). After a poor 2009 start and his somewhat strange request of wanting to remain in the minor leagues after the Pirates sent him down, the Bucs shipped him to Seattle, where he finished the season relatively strong. Unfortunately for Snell, last year was perhaps his worst as a pro as he went winless and his ERA jumped back up to over 6.00 for the first time since his rookie season when he only pitched 12 innings.

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Snell was the perfect example of why baseball is such a tough game. Heading into 2008, he was one of the most promising young pitchers in the National League. 2011 - out of the league.

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But at 29, I wouldn't count Snell out completely. He's young enough where a comeback wouldn't be out of the question.

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