On Thursday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals decided to decline their half of a mutual option with Jake Westbrook. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had the story first. The Cards will also have to pay a $1 million buyout to Westbrook.
The Cardinals didn’t need to pay bring Westbrook back next season. They have a very deep rotation that already consists of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Jaime Garcia. They also have young flamethrowers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, both potential starting pitchers if the Cardinals ever decide to go that route.
It should come as no surprise that the Cardinals didn’t exercise their option for Westbrook not just because of the depth in their pitching staff, but also because he would have made $9.5 million in 2014 when he isn’t good anymore. On top of this, he also saw two extended stints on the DL.
At the age of 36, Westbrook’s better days are obviously behind him. In 2013, he went 7-8 with a 4.63 ERA. His ground ball rate of 56.3 percent was very good. Unfortunately, his K/9 of just 3.39 was actually lower than his 3.86 BB/9.
Westbrook will probably find work somewhere, probably on a minor league deal. He likely won’t crack a MLB starting rotation unless injuries force his way into a rotation somewhere. He could definitely find himself pitching out of a bullpen in 2014 as a ground ball specialist. Other than that, he probably doesn’t have much use to teams anymore.