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Giants Buy Out Edgar Renteria: If This Is the End, Then What a Swan Song

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Giants Buy Out Edgar Renteria: If This Is the End, Then What a Swan Song
Pool/Getty Images
If this is the last image of Edgar Renteria's career, there's no doubt he can be proud of it.

On Thursday, just three days after he was named World Series MVP, the San Francisco Giants bought out the final option year on Edgar Renteria's contract, making him a free agent.

While this may sound cruel on the surface, it should be noted that the Giants' postseason hero has been seriously pondering putting an end to his 15-year career.

If this is the end, Renteria will be remembered as an above-average shortstop whose career is defined by the heroics that bookend either side.

An early add-on for the Florida Marlins in 1996, he averaged .309 in 102 games and was second on the NL Rookie of the Year ballot. His numbers tapered off a bit in 1997, but he became a clutch player, hitting extra-inning walk-off hits five times in the regular season. He would repeat those heroics in the World Series, getting the series-clinching hit in the 11th inning of Game 7.

He'd survive the fire sale, and steal a career-high 41 bases in 1998, but was ultimately traded to the Cardinals in 1999. He would go on to lead the Cardinals to four postseason appearances.

Renteria had a career year in 2003, hitting .330 with 100 RBI. His best playoff season with St. Louis would come in 2004, when he hit .457 in the NLDS and .333 in the World Series, but he would be on the wrong end of the final out as they were swept by the Red Sox.

He was traded to the Red Sox in 2005, but the Boston media rode him hard for "underperforming," even though he scored a career-high 100 runs. They, in turn, sent him to the Braves in 2006, where he repeated his 100-run performance. He hit .332 in 2007, but missed 38 games due to injury.

His last few years were marred by injury. He missed 24 games in 2008 with the Tigers and 38 games in 2009 with the Giants. He missed over half of this year, but recovered enough of his form to make the Giants' playoff roster.

He got hits in two pinch-hit at-bats in the NLDS. He slumped against the Phillies in the NLCS, then turned it on in the World Series, hitting .412, including the series-clinching home run in Game 5. In fact, he hit two home runs in the 2010 World Series. Not historically a power hitter (135 regular-season HR in 15 seasons), he previously only hit one home run in the postseason.

Edgar Renteria may not have had the flashiest of careers as a whole, but he will be remembered fondly for his clutch moments, especially by the Marlins and the Giants. If this is the end, then it is a career he can be proud of.

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