Lilly was attempting to make a comeback in Venezuela this winter from the neck and shoulder injuries that limited him to just 23 innings with the Dodgers in 2013. However, after just one appearance with Los Navigantes de Magallanes, the left-hander decided that his playing days were over.
Lilly told Guzman that he believes he still has the ability to be a successful big-league pitcher, but that his body has broken down to the point where he can't do it anymore:
"My neck is better. It's the condition of my back and shoulder, mostly. I'm still having some problems there, and I don't feel I can get back to being the pitcher I was a few years ago."
(Roughly translated from Spanish, which may or may not have been translated from English.)
Lilly dealt with shoulder problems for much of his career, but still got on the mound frequently enough to put up some solid career numbers. The left-hander finishes his 15-year stead with a 4.14 ERA in just under 2,000 innings pitched, good for a slightly above-average 106 ERA+.
The 37-year-old southpaw began his big-league career with the now-defunct Montreal Expos back in 1999, but was quickly dealt to the New York Yankees. He had an up-and-down time in his two-plus years in the Bronx, and didn't really settle in as a full-time starter until he suited up with the Oakland Athletics in late 2002.
After one full year with the A's, Lilly found himself on the trading block once again -- the fourth time in six seasons -- ultimately returning to Canada as a member of the Blue Jays. He didn't have much in the way of success in his tumultuous first eight seasons as a pro, posting a 4.60 ERA in 936 innings over 185 appearances.
There's no way of knowing what all caused the left-hander to turn things around when he was signed the Cubs in 2007, one presumes that a healthy throwing arm probably had a lot to do with it. For once joining a club of his own volition -- on a four-year, $40 million deal, no less -- Lilly shined during his three-plus seasons in the Windy City, posting a 3.68 ERA and nearly eight strikeouts per nine over 125 starts for the Cubs.
The twilight of Lilly's career was spent with the Dodgers, who drafted him in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft. He was able to roll over some of the success he had with Chicago in his time in Los Angeles, but neck and shoulder injuries ultimately got the better of him. Limited to just 71⅔ innings (13 starts) over his final two years with the club, Lilly was ultimately released by the Dodgers this past August.