Cards decline mutual option on Westbrook
As expected, the Cardinals have declined their 2014 mutual option on Jake Westbrook. That option would have paid Westbrook $9.5 million next season. Instead, the Cardinals will cover the $1 million buyout and allow Westbrook to enter free agency.
This mutual option was attached to the one-year contract Westbrook signed in Aug. 2012.
Westbrook has known for some time that he did not fit into the Cardinals’ future plans. After a strong start to the 2013 season, the righty landed on the disabled list in mid-May with right elbow inflammation. He returned to the rotation a month later but never had the same effectiveness. Westbrook trudged through some tough summer months, endured a second DL stint due to a back strain and finished the season mostly unused in the Cardinals’ bullpen.
Westbrook, 35, did not appear on any of the team’s three postseason rosters. With the collection of young starting pitchers the Cardinals have, they did not have a need to bring Westbrook back for another season.
Acquired by the Cardinals in a 2010 three-team Trade Deadline deal with the Indians and Padres, Westbrook went 36-32 with a 4.27 ERA in 94 games (92 starts) with St. Louis. He posted a 4.63 ERA this year. Westbrook was a part of the Cardinals’ 2011 World Championship club, and the veteran right-hander made substantial contributions in helping a number of young pitchers find their footing upon reaching the Majors.
Westbrook becomes the fifth Cardinals free agent, joining Chris Carpenter, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal and Edward Mujica.
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