After 19 professional seasons and 2,073 career games, Alfredo Amézaga is hanging up his cleats. He’ll make his coaching debut with the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves in an unspecified role, the team announced on Wednesday.
This news comes almost precisely one year to the day of Amézaga’s final game with Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. He had been playing exclusively in his native country since the 2013-14 MLB offseason. The charismatic utility man turns 41 later this month.
You remember Amézaga, right? There were other stints with the Angels, Rockies and Pirates, but only the Marlins were willing to give him a significant major league opportunity. Amézaga slashed .255/.315/.339 (71 wRC+) in 437 total games with them. He ranked second on the 2006 squad with 20 stolen bases, trailing only NL Rookie of the Year Hanley Ramírez.
Amézaga showed the versatility to fill in at any outfield or infield position. However, the Marlins usually deployed him in center field, and he’s on the short list of best defensive players the franchise has ever had at that position.
Amézaga graduated from Miami Senior High School in 1997. He took so much pride in returning to his “second home” during the middle of his career, as explained to Craig Minervini on FOX Sports Florida at Mexican Heritage Night a few years ago.
Overall, he ranked No. 51 in Kevin Kraczkowski’s all-time Marlins rankings.
Fish Stripes wishes Alfredo the best of luck in this new endeavor. Who knows—maybe coaching will lead him back to the Marlins eventually.