First, the staff ace Chris Carpenter. Now, after 13 years, 36-year old veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook has announced his retirement as well. Although his career was not as successful as Carpenter’s, Westbrook still had an impact in the Cardinals rotation over the past three years.
Drafted by the Rockies in the first round of the 1996 draft, Westbrook had stints with the Expos, Yankees, Indians, and then finally with the Cardinals.
In 13 big-league seasons, Westbrook went 105-103 with a 4.32 ERA (96 ERA+) and 1.41 WHIP in 1,747 2/3 innings. He went 7-8 with a 4.63 ERA (79 ERA+) and 1.56 WHIP in 116 2/3 innings for St. Louis in his final season last year. He won two World Series, in 2000 with the Yankees and in the memorable 2011 season with the Cardinals.
He was an average pitcher (his stats tell the tale of that), and injuries plagued him throughout of his career. Consistency wasn’t his friend, as he only had two more career wins than losses.
The Cardinals declined his $9.75 million option for 2014. After being released by the Cardinals following the end of the 2013 season, Westbrook received little interest from any team in Major League Baseball.
It was this issue that had an impact as well in his decision to announce his retirement.
Record-wise, his best season with the Redbirds was in 2012, in which he went 13-11 with a 3.97 E.R.A. Overall, his best season was in 2004, then with the Indians, in which he went 14-9, along with five complete games and a career-low 3.38 E.R.A.
He was named to the All-Star team in the 2004 season due to his strong performance.
He went 7-8 last season with a 4.63 ERA. He made 21 appearances, including 19 starts. But he made just two appearances and one start after August 21, as injuries took their toll on the sinker-baller.
According to NBCsports.com, Westbrook walked more batters than he struck out last season (50 walks, 44 strikeouts).
But perhaps his finest moment came in 2011, during what many consider to be the greatest game in baseball history: Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. While the heroics of David Freese and Lance Berkman from that night are etched in the minds of Cardinals’ fans, it was Westbrook who shut down the Rangers offense just enough for the Cardinals to have one more chance to win, a chance Freese took full advantage of.
While Jake Westbrook was at best average, his long career had its fair share of highlights, strong performances, and complete game outings, and Redbird Nation will always be thankful for the three years he gave to the city of St. Louis.