Cardinals reportedly joining pursuit of Jon Lester

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Might the Cardinals be a darkhorse in the Jon Lester sweepstakes? Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM says they are “in pursuit,” citing a club source.

St. Louis just unloaded some of its rotation depth on Monday afternoon, acquiring outfielder Jason Heyward and relief pitcher Jordan Walden from the Braves for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. That still leaves the Cardinals with six legitimate starters for 2015 between Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez, and Marco Gonzales, but Wainwright needed elbow surgery in late October and Wacha battled shoulder issues for much of the 2014 season. So maybe there’s something to this.

Martinez and Gonzales could both begin 2015 in relief roles if Lester is brought in.

Lester is also drawing serious interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, and Braves. The 30-year-old southpaw had a 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 220/48 K/BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings this season between Boston and Oakland.

Shawn Tolleson retires from baseball

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Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that reliever Shawn Tolleson is retiring from baseball. The right-hander experienced a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last week.

Tolleson, who turns 31 years old on Saturday, last pitched in the majors in 2016. He had two very good years out of the bullpen for the Rangers in 2014-15, posting an aggregate 2.88 ERA with 145 strikeouts and 45 walks across 144 innings.

Tolleson signed a one-year deal with the Rays in January 2017 before undergoing Tommy John surgery several months later. The Rangers inked him to a minor league contract in December 2017, but he wasn’t able to work his way back.