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ST. LOUIS–The Cardinals headed into the lockout with a starting rotation for 2022 which appears largely set, at least on paper. Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson and Steven Matz are all signed for this coming season. But if 2021 taught people anything, it’s that you can never have enough depth on a pitching staff.

Jon Lester, who went 4-1 for the Cardinals after he was acquired by St. Louis at the trade deadline from the Washington Nationals, told ESPN that he’s retiring.

Lester pitched in 12 games for the Cardinals and along with JA Happ, another veteran lefty acquired at the deadline helped eat innings for a rotation that had lost several players to injury, which in turn also helped a bullpen that had spent much of the summer overworked.

There had been speculation during the season that the team could look to either of them for a return engagement in 2022.

Instead, at least with Lester, a career which included key wins against the Cardinals, first in the 2013 World Series for the Red Sox, and later, as part of the team that ended the championship drought for the rival Chicago Cubs, ends with his final MLB win coming while wearing the ‘Birds on the Bat.’