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A’s infielder Nate Orf retires

Eight-year pro career included a taste of MLB

San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have a couple decisions in front of them, with a full 40-man roster and two new free agent signings to make room for. That means they need to clear two spots, but it turns out one of them has taken care of itself.

Middle infielder Nate Orf retired from playing, according to the team’s official transaction page. The MiLB-Transactions Twitter account refers to it as “voluntary retirement” for the 31 year old.

The A’s signed Orf as a minor league free agent in November 2019, providing veteran non-roster depth, but with no 2020 minor league season to play in he spent most of the summer at the alternate site camp. However, late in the year Oakland had to deal with multiple injuries on their infield simultaneously, and on Sept. 13 they called up Orf to the majors to help fill in.

In six games, Orf provided eight error-free innings at each of shortstop and second base, including one start at short. At the plate he went 0-for-7, but his job was defense. He also got his first chance to play in the postseason, appearing once as a defensive replacement in the Wild Card Series against the White Sox and once as a pinch-runner in the ALDS against the Astros, though he never got to bat.

Before coming to Oakland, the Baylor University alum went undrafted in 2013 but signed with the Brewers as a free agent. He reached the upper-minors in 2015 and never looked back, making a brief MLB debut for Milwaukee in 2018. He stayed in their organization through the following season, then moved to the A’s.

He didn’t get a lot of time in the majors, but he did make it and managed to put a mark in just about every major stat column.

Orf, career: 2-for-28, HR, RBI, 5 runs, 3 BB, 9 Ks, 1 SB

He got to reach base a few times, via both hits and walks, plural. He hit a homer, and crossed the plate a few more times. He stole a base at a 100% success rate. And he experienced October baseball for a moment last fall. And for what it’s worth, he never made an error in 24 innings of defense at four positions (2B, SS, 3B, RF).

A barrage of under-the-radar names constantly fly past us in minor transactions, and it’s easy to miss them or take them for granted. Let’s stop for a moment to recognize this one, who played a part in our last A’s playoff team and was still a current member of our club’s 40-man roster until yesterday. Nate Orf didn’t win awards or rings, but he got to play in the majors for the Oakland A’s, and that’s pretty cool.

Division Series - Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros - Game Three
Hey rookie! You were good.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images