After having the nerves in his neck cauterized and attempting a comeback in the Venezuelan winter league, Ted Lilly has finally decided to retire from the MLB. At 37, Ted’s body is basically telling him that enough is enough. While the neck procedure relieved some of his pain, he is still experiencing pain in his back and shoulder making him unable to continue to pitch at the Major League level any longer.
Ted Lilly had been pitching in Venezuela with the Navegantes del Magallanes. The crafty lefty pitched in just one game (3 1/3 innings). He allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and 4 walks during his appearance.
The Dodgers finally released Lilly this last season after his neck issues increasingly were preventing him to pitch. He reportedly was talking to the Giants about signing after his release from the Dodgers, but the deal fell through after Lilly and the Giants couldn’t come to an agreement about a Major League start date.
Over his 15 MLB seasons, Lilly finished his career with a 130-113 record and a 4.14 ERA over 356 games. He pitched almost 2,000 innings (1,982 2/3) and allowed 293 homeruns to opposing batters ( a 29 homerun average per season).
Born in Lomita, California, Lilly was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft. The Dodgers traded Lilly in 1998 with another minor leaguer Jonathan Tucker, Peter Bergeron, and Wilton Guerrero to the Montreal Expos for Hiram Bocachia, Mark Grudzielanek, and Carlos Perez. Before eventually returning to the Dodger organization later in this career, Lilly spent time with the Expos, Yankees, A’s, Blue Jays, and the Cubs. Lilly’s 3 1/2 years with Chicago were some of his best years. He was an All-Star with the Cubs in 2009, and he won a career-high 17 games in 2008 while pitching on the north side of Chicago. Lilly’s only postseason appearances came in the 2002 and 2003 American League Division Series with Oakland and the 2007 National League Division Series while with the Cubs.
At the July trade deadline of 2010, the Dodgers traded Blake DeWitt along with minor leaguers Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit to the Cubs in exchange for Lilly, Ryan Theriot, and cash. Even though Theriot was pretty bad with the Dodgers and committed many signature TOOTBLANS, and Lilly served up many homeruns while wearing Dodger Blue, the trade was far better for the Dodgers in the end.
Theodore Roosevelt Lilly will finish his career as a Dodger. He pitched in 58 games over 3 1/2 seasons while with the Dodgers good for a 24-21 record and a 3.83 ERA. Lilly only started 5 games for the Dodgers in 2013 before succumbing to neck problems.
While Lilly may be remembered for his meltdown on the mound against the D-backs, he was very effective when healthy for the Dodgers. Unfortunately his body could not allow him to continue to pitch, and he will hang up his cleats for good. Thanks for the memories, Ted!