Mark Mulder has apparently announced his retirement, according to TMJ4's 10 PM newscast last night in Milwaukee. After hearing the Mulder-to-Milwaukee rumors all winter, you had to wonder if a deal was ever going to get done with pitchers and catchers reporting to camp later this week. We all thought it was the Brewers who weren't comfortable offering a contract to the left-hander (even a minor league deal), but it looks like it was Mulder himself who wasn't comfortable.
This is probably for the best for both parties. The Brewers already have quite a few pitchers not only competing for rotation spots in Milwaukee, but in Nashville as well, as David Hannes wrote a few days ago. It would have been very hard for Mulder to make it, and if he felt he wouldn't be able to pitch effectively without hurting himself again, this is the right move.
It's a sad way to end what looked like a promising career. He hit the mainstream with a 21-8 season in just his second year, posting an ERA+ of 126 and showing a knack for keeping guys off base. He left Oakland with a record of 81-42, a function of playing on some of those great A's teams early in the decade. His 3.92 career ERA at that point left a lot of optimism for a move to the NL -- so much that the Cards felt comfortable parting with Danny Haren.
We know the story from there. One very good season in St. Louis before it all went downhill. Injuries cut his 2006 season to just 17 starts, and even when he was on the mound he didn't look right. He only made three starts in 2007, pitching 11 innings. In 2008, he was only able to make one start, appearing in two other games in relief.
Here's to hoping Mulder is happy and comfortable in retirement. It's obviously a bit of a letdown for Brewers fans hoping for the impossible under Rick Peterson, but at least the Brewers know they can move on and keep preparing for Spring Training.
Edit: Here is confirmation from Adam McCalvy, who talked to Rick Peterson.