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.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.