Mark Mulder was one of baseball’s best pitchers from 2001-2005, winning 88 games over that stretch while posting over 200 innings-per-season and appearing in a couple of All-Star games. Then shoulder issues totally derailed his career. From 2006-2008 he appeared in just 26 games.
2008 was Mulder’s last year in the majors…everyone thought. But the now-36-year-old Mulder wants to rewrite the story of his career, adding a final chapter where he returns after five years out of the game.
Because no team can resist giving a once-great player one final shot, the Los Angeles Angels have signed Mulder to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. The contract could be worth $6 million if Mulder reaches all the incentives.
This is a no-risk move for the Angels. If Mulder somehow finds the magic, they get a solid back-of-the-rotation starter for relatively little money. If his arm falls off, so what?
How realistic are Mulder’s chances of pulling off the comeback? It all depends on the shoulder. If the arm is physically sound, there’s no reason Mulder can’t do it. He knows how to pitch. He has the ability. 36 is old but not absurdly old for a major league pitcher.
And if it doesn’t happen, at least he can sleep at night knowing he gave it his best shot. Maybe some of that Disney magic will rub off on him there in Anaheim.