All good things must come to an end. After 15 years of service in Major League baseball, that end has come for left-hander Ted Lilly, who has opted to retire from the game after a failed comeback. Lilly made his intentions known to El Universal is Venezuela (h/t MLB Trade Rumors).
The 37-year-old Lilly has been dealing with neck and back pain since a collision with Kyle Blanks of the San Diego Padres on June 4th of 2013. After some failed rehab appearances, he was eventually released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the 2013 season, Lilly had the nerve endings in his neck cauterized to help alleviate the pain, a procedure that, while successful, hasn’t resulted in Lilly being able to return to the mound.
“My body in general is telling me that I can’t take any more,” Lilly told Guzman. “I feel like I don’t have the ability to continue at the Major League level.”
A 15-year veteran, Lilly will retire with a career record of 130-113, with an ERA of 4.14, a 7.6 K/9 ratio, and 26.3 career Wins above replacement (FanGraphs). Lilly also made five postseason appearances (2 starts) with a 0-2 record and a 6.61 ERA.
Lilly spent three relatively unproductive seasons in Toronto from 2004 through 2006, going 37-34 with a 4.52 ERA for the Blue Jays in that span. His time here was perhaps most well known for one appearance; August 21, 2006. His best season Toronto came in his first season in a Blue Jays uniform, when he was an All-Star in 2004, posting a 12-10 record, a 4.06 ERA, and was worth 3.4 wins above replacement.
In that start against the Oakland Athletics, Lilly surrendered eight runs in the first three innings of work, but was left on the mound to soak up the beating by then manager John Gibbons. The Blue Jays would mount a comeback and get to within 8-5 before Lilly again got in trouble in the fifth, putting runners on first and third. Gibbons then decided to come take him out, which Lilly tried to fight at the time. The two would later have a memorable confrontation in the Blue Jays locker room after the game. He would reject the Blue Jays 4-year, $40 million deal after the season, instead taking an identical deal from the Chicago Cubs, citing his need for a “change of scenery”.