The St. Louis Cardinals make their first major league move by signing left-handed reliever Brett Cecil, a former Toronto Blue Jay.
The deal offered by the St. Louis Cardinals is for four years valued at $30.5 million, according to Jeff Passan. The deal also includes a full no-trade clause, putting a lot of pressure on the Cardinals hoping that he performs like they expect.
Cecil is an eight-year veteran who has been a full-time member of the Blue Jays bullpen since 2013 after spending four years as a starter. He struggled as a starter, never having an ERA under 4.22, but has found success as a reliever.
In his four years as a reliever, he has posted an ERA under 3.00 in three of his four reliever years, his worst coming in 2016 at 3.93.
According to JaysJournal, Cecil got off to a slow start but turned it around and made a big contribution down the stretch of the season. In August he had a 3.12 ERA in 13 appearances and only gave up four hits in September holding opponents to a .138 batting average.
Cecil is one of few lefties on the market, and highly coveted by several teams. Passan reports that a fourth year was what sealed the deal for John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals as many teams were afraid to move past the three-year threshold.
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The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen was notorious for giving up games that they should have won handily in 2016. Cecil, then, adds some much needed help within the ‘pen and gives them another quality left-handed option next to Kevin Siegrist.
If Cecil can keep his late-season form, manager Mike Matheny won’t have to wear down Siegrist through the enduring season.
Cecil’s curveball brings him the most success with opposing batters hitting .229 against it, while his fastball and slider saw teams hit over .321. He threw his curveball 257 times in 2016, and that should remain a trend in 2017. Since becoming a reliver, it has been his top pitch in every season.
Higher than the league average 78.06, his curveball velocity average is 83.8 mph while his fastball sits in the low-90s along with his slider.
The Blue Jays drafted him in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft out of the University of Maryland. In 2017, Cecil will be putting on a different uniform for the first time in his eight-year career.
Exiting the Rogers Centre could cause troubles as his home-road splits are incomparable. In Toronto he had a 2.41 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched, giving up only one home run. While on the road last season, he posted a 5.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched, with five home runs allowed.
Seems like that this shouldn’t be a huge concern as Busch is much more of a pitcher’s park than Rogers Centre so don’t be surprised if he settles in and finds success in St. Louis.
Busch Stadium ranks 25th in the least amount of runs allowed. Rogers Centre finished tied in sixth with Globe Life Park in Arlington, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors. Let’s hope these stats help Cecil become a great pick by the St. Louis Cardinals.