Jake Westbrook was pulled from the Cardinals’ rotation down the stretch and had his $9.75 million option for 2014 declined, and now the 36-year-old right-hander is retiring after 13 seasons in the majors.
Westbrook broke the news to local reporter Rob Rains, saying: “The interest that I was getting wasn’t significant enough for me to go through the grind of another year and be away from my family.”
Westbrook walked more batters (50) than he struck out (44) in 117 innings last season and hasn’t posted a better than average ERA since 2007, but he also never had a truly terrible season during that time and was generally a decent innings-eater.
He finishes with a 105-103 record and 4.32 ERA in 1,748 innings for the Indians, Cardinals, and Yankees, including four 200-inning campaigns and one trip to the All-Star game in 2004. Oh, and more than $70 million in career earnings.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.