Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jon Lester has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball.
The 38-year old sited that his body couldn’t handle the physical workload of another season.
After a 16-year major league career, Jon Lester tells Jesse Rogers of ESPN he’s made the decision to retire. “It’s kind of run its course,” the 38-year-old said of his career. “It’s getting harder for me physically. The little things that come up throughout the year turned into bigger things that hinder your performance. I’d like to think I’m a halfway decent self-evaluator. I don’t want someone else telling me I can’t do this anymore. I want to be able to hand my jersey over and say, ‘thank you, it’s been fun.’ That’s probably the biggest deciding factor.”
Lester has been one of the premier left-handed pitchers in his career, accumulating 2,488 strikeouts in 2,740 innings and last season earning his 200th career win.
He was a pivotal part of the Boston Red Sox teams that won a World Series championship in 2007 & 2013 as well as being a key piece of the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series championship.
Lester was a 5 x All-Star, the NLCS MVP (2016), and NL wins leader (2018). He also pitched a no-hitter back in May of 2008.
Last off-season the Washington Nationals took a flier on Lester signing him to a 1-yr $5M contract. After 16 starts for the Nats, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for OF Lane Thomas.
For St. Louis, Lester filled a need going 4-1 with a 4.36 ERA helping the team make the playoffs via the Wild Card.
"Playing with Waino [Adam Wainwright] and Yadi [Yadier Molina] was awesome," Lester said. "It was a cool experience to play for that organization. You learn to understand why they're so successful every year."
With the MLB lockout pushing back a lot of free agent signings, it was thought that a team (even the Cardinals) might have an interest in Jon on another 1-year deal, however Lester wants to go out on his own accord and be able to know he’s given the game all he’s got. He feels like he has done that.
There may be sightings of Lester either in a broadcasting role or as a special instructor in the future, but as a player or a full time coach doesn’t look like it’s in the cards.
We wish Jon the best in his future endeavors and respected & enjoyed his time both as foe and as a St. Louis Cardinal.