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Former Cleveland closer Cody Allen is retiring

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Nothing but respect for our Chicken Al

Divisional Round - Houston Astros v Cleveland Indians - Game Three Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

According to Jon Heyman, former Cleveland reliever and all-time saves leader Cody Allen is calling it a career.

Allen was drafted by Cleveland in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft and remained with the club until he left as a free agent following the 2018 season.

Including his 25-game stint with the Angels in 2019, Allen’s nine-year career concludes with 593 strikeouts, 193 walks, and 162 earned runs in 463.2 innings. Most of that came before the onset of Statcast measuring every single moment of a ball in play, but his 2017 measurements point to just how dominant he could be at his best:

Baseball Savant

Allen finishes as Cleveland’s all-time save leader with 149. He is one of only five Cleveland relievers to finish their careers with over 100 saves, alongside Bob Wickman (139), Doug Jones (129), Chris Perez (124), and Jose Mesa (104). He also finished with the third-most among relievers with 440.2 innings pitched.

Of all the innings that Allen pitched, fewer were more special than the 13.2 he threw in the 2016 postseason. He didn’t allow a single run across the plate as Cleveland won the AL Pennant; he struck out 24 batters and issued just five walks in that span.

He closed out Game 3 of the World Series, holding the Cubs to one hit over the game’s final 1.1 innings. Cleveland, as you may remember (or have blocked out of your memory forever) won Game 3, 1-0. He also pitched two scoreless innings in Game 7, but I refuse to remember what happened in the rest of that game. I’m sure it went great, though.

All that use and a devastating curveball took its toll, however. He never pitched in fewer than 67 games since he took over as the team’s closer in 2014 and his arm just started to fall apart in his late-20s. He struggled in his final season with Cleveland, and his lone season in Los Angeles was a disaster as he walked 17.2% of the batters he faced and finished his 23.0 innings with a 6.26 ERA before being released. He signed on with the Twins, but only pitched a handful of innings in Triple-A.

None of that should detract from just how good Cody Allen was for Cleveland, though. He will, and should, be remembered as one of the team’s best closers ever.

Good night, sweet Chicken.