Make or Break Time for Westbrook

Image Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

Jake Westbrook is potentially starting for the last time for the Cardinals tomorrow.  He has been absolutely awful the last 4 starts, giving up 4, 5, 6 and 9 earned runs in those outings sending his ERA from 2.95 to 4.35.  With under 40 games to go and the three NL Central teams separated by 2.5 games, the Cardinals cannot afford to give away any starts down the stretch.

If Jake throws another clunker tomorrow, it is time for the Cardinals to move on and let one or more of the rookies take his turn in the rotation.  I believe the team has a better chance that one of the young guns will perform better in his spot in the rotation than he would.  Worst case scenario, it gives more innings to these younger pitchers at the MLB level for them to be ready for playoff baseball in October.

Let’s be honest if the Cardinals are in a playoff series, not only is he not getting the ball to start any of the games, I don’t even see him making the playoff roster.  Joe Kelly has won 6 of his last 7 starts and has an era at 3 and locked up the #4 starter spot.  If Joe continues to pitch this  way down the stretch run, he might even move up further.

There is a mutual option on Westbrook’s contract for 2014 at 9.5 million.  With Jaime Garcia coming back, the Cardinals already will have 5 solid starters (Wainwright. Miller, Lynn and Kelly) before we even talk about Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Carlos Martinez all battling for a starting slot next year. In other words, there is no way Westbrook is on the club next year.

From a financial stand point, the Cardinals will need to use the money they are going to save on Westbrook and Rafael Furcal in 2014 to upgrade at shortstop.  This is important now that circumstances have changed with Carlos Beltran and the Oscar Taveras situation.   I was anticipating the Cardinals being able to use the money they were going to save on Beltran to sign a better shortstop.  Unfortunately with the injury filled season that Taveras has had this year, ending in surgery on his ankle,  it is pretty obvious the Cardinals need to work out an extension with Beltran for another year or two.

Westbrook has his own personal playoff game tomorrow.  Pitch well or start thinking about moving on to your next team.

Topics: St Louis Cardinals

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  • john weitzman

    Its actually about time someone wrote about this. Even the PD lets him slide.
    Personally unless Westbrook throws a shutout I dont see him ever getting the ball again. Giving up 3 to 4 runs is enough to get him out of town.
    As for Beltran, even prior to Taveras being hurt it was clear they need to find a way to resign him. Granted he is not the same in the second half but if they go deep into the playoffs he will put up big numbers, always has.
    Assuming Taveras makes the team next year I would hope its at center to platoon with JJ.
    I agree that with the money saved on Westbrook, Frucal and most likely Carp “whom you left out” assuming he retires will be enough to upgrade SS. And there is a big possibility that Freese could be traded for that deal. He is the hometown hero but its about business and could very well happen. They have alot of options for 2014 but they need to worry about 2013 first.

    • Mike King

      Thanks John! I left Carp off intentionally as I was trying to focus the article on Westbrook. Adding Westbrook’s money to Furcal’s (the outgoing full time SS) showing that it was much better money spent upgrading short than bringing Westbrook back.

      As you said, we have plenty of time in 2 months to talk 2014 additions and subtractions.

  • Mike King

    Spotted a 7-0 lead in the second inning, he has to be pulled after 4 2/3 inning leading 7-5. Enough already!

  • Richard Jacobs

    Stick a fork in him ,he’s done (here in St Louis)