Why Washington native Trevor May is retiring after a decade in MLB

Nov 4, 2023, 9:50 AM

Trevor May is coming off of one of his best seasons as an MLB reliever.

In 2023 with the Oakland Athletics, the 34-year-old right-hander posted a 3.28 ERA with career-best numbers in saves (21), hits per nine innings (6.8) and home runs per nine innings (0.8). Sounds like a good stat line for the Washington state native to point to while looking for a contract in free agency this offseason, right?

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Well, May has other plans. He announced on his popular Twitch channel last month that he is retiring from MLB after completing his ninth big league season – at the same time sharing his opinion on the state of the A’s, whose owner, John Fisher, has been under fire for quite some time due to the team’s low payroll and his stated plan to move the franchise to Las Vegas.

While May’s comments about Fisher and the A’s made headlines, exactly why May is hanging up his cleats wasn’t completely clear. In an exclusive interview with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob that aired Friday, the Kelso High School product provided his reasoning.

“It seems kind of abrupt, especially with how things went (in 2023), but I knew going into the season that this was very, very likely it,” May told hosts Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton. “It was a conversation with my partner and my family and my friends and everybody. I just really think that I was feeling much more excited about other things. Playing baseball has been my dream for a long time, and I think I came to the realization that, like, could I consider that dream realized? And after eight years, I was like, ‘Yeah,’ so I think everything’s kind of bonus.”

May has a few well-known interests off the field. Fans of his Twitch account know of May’s affinity for electronic music and esports, and he has also been a partial owner of FCF Zappers, an indoor football team in the Fan Controlled Football League. Based off of his conversation with Wyman and Bob, it would seem he’s well suited for a post-playing career move to media, as well.

“I just have a lot of interests outside of the game that I want to explore. That was a big, big reason,” May said of retiring.

Having been drafted out of Kelso High in the fourth round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Phillies and making his big league debut in 2014, May is ready to get out of the grind of being a professional baseball player.

“If I’m being completely honest, leaving for spring training every year was – I had a different relationship with it (than other players may),” he said. “You know, a lot of my buddies I played with would always be like, ‘Don’t you get bored and (want to get) ready to start the season?’ Like, no, never. I’m having a blast with my other stuff. I’m sad that I have to stop (playing baseball) – not that I’m not excited (when I get) to play, either. It’s just it was always bittersweet (to leave for spring training), and the transitioning from place to place and moving all your stuff, it just got really, really, really old, really fast, and then you just kind of feel your body kind of shut down, too. So you’re only going to diminish, I’m only going to diminish physically, and I kind of wanted to go out on my own terms. That was kind of important to me.”

A trio of somewhat recent MLB retirees, including a former Seattle Mariners player, were somewhat of an inspiration to May, too.

“I followed Buster Posey, Kyle Seager and Lorenzo Cain’s lead – 34 sounds like a good year.”

Trevor May on never playing for the Mariners

May makes his home in the Seattle area, and he’s been open about the fact that he wanted to play for the Mariners, who he grew up rooting for. While it never came to be – he played six years with Minnesota, two with the Mets, and last season with Oakland – what if he received a call this offseason from Seattle?

“Not fielding that call would be very hard, obviously, because it’s something I’ve been very open about,” he said. “That was something I really wanted to do this year.”

May said he may have actually hurt his chances to sign with other teams in free agency before last season due to the fact that he was holding out hope that something would come together with the Mariners. He’s understanding about why it seemed he wasn’t a fit for Seattle’s bullpen ahead of 2023, though.

“I held out, honestly. I had some conversations with some other teams that kind of fell apart because I sabotaged them a little bit to try to waste time. I’m not proud of that,” he said. “… It wasn’t really realistic. There was a little bit – like, conversations were happening but there wasn’t a lot of excitement, I wasn’t sensing much excitement. Obviously, I wasn’t on the calls, either – that’s not really how that works, you’ve got to get to a certain point before you’re talking to them (instead of just your agent). It is what I wanted, because a lot of things I talked about – family and missing things – a lot of that would have been better, way better by just living in my own home and driving down the road 10 minutes to the park. Travel would have been much easier and my wife could have been here with her family and her friends. It could have been much, much better but it just didn’t happen. And there’s no hard feelings there either way.

“I just don’t think I fit into the plan, and just judging by comments made and the way that interviews work with the powers that be with the M’s, it would have been cool to really buy in from a fan and player standpoint. That would have been really cool for me and very easy to do. I think I would have had a lot of fun interacting with people and helping build, being part of the northwest baseball community because I feel like I’m not part of it, really, because I’m gone all the time. That would have been awesome, I would have really enjoyed it. But, you know, I just don’t see a world where it would be something I’d be excited to do (now), and I don’t know if I would have fit into the philosophy of how the team’s put together.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Trevor May in the podcast at this link, or in either the video or audio player near the top of this post.

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