St. Louis Cardinals: Is Brett Cecil’s time in St. Louis up?
By Joshua Magee
Brett Cecil has been one of the St. Louis Cardinals worst relievers since he signed with the team. Will the Cardinals finally get rid of him?
A 6.89 ERA. 1.959 WHIP. -1.0 WAR. 6.99 BB/9. Horrific numbers right? Yep, those numbers belong to St. Louis Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil. We are paying this guy 7 million dollars a year…to flat out suck. Let’s flash it back about two years ago real quick, shall we?
On November 21st, 2016, it was announced that the St. Louis Cardinals have signed LHP Brett Cecil to a four year-$30.5 million contract. He was one of the top lefty relief arms on the free agent market. Though he was not as dominant as he was in previous years, he still had a solid 2016 campaign and showed that he could contribute to a bullpen in need of a lefty reliever.
That’s where the Cardinals come into play. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009, and their hated rivals, the Chicago Cubs, won the World Series. It was time for the St. Louis Cardinals to act and get back to playoff contention the following season.
His 2016 numbers were decent, consisting of a 3.93 ERA and a 3.64 FIP. He also had a K/9 of 11.0, and was able to keep walks at a minimum, as he totaled a 2.0 BB/9 on the season. He could potentially bounce back from a down year in 2016 and be one of the top arms out of the Cardinals bullpen.
Let’s fast forward back to 2018. In case you have missed these past two seasons from Cecil, they have been absolutely horrendous.
Cecil started out 2017 on a bad note. By the time we reached early-June, he already had a 5.66 ERA on the season. When mid-June rolled around, he finally started to come around for the St. Louis Cardinals, and he was also starting to dominate.
He went over a month without allowing an earned run, during that time, he had 13 appearances, and he was solid in all of them, and played a huge part in what could be a bullpen turnaround for the Cardinals. He even saw his ERA fall to a very solid 3.22.
Then, on July 14, Cecil came back to Earth, and when I mean came back to Earth, I mean he fell flat on his face coming down at 1000 miles per hour. He blew his second save of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates in painful fashion. He was hot and cold to finish the season, and his 2017 campaign ended with a 3.88 ERA with a 1.238 WHIP. Which wasn’t bad for a reliever, but he definitely was worse than the stats showed.
Though the contract did not seem worth it, Cardinals fans held out hope that he could go back to the way he was with Toronto, but 2018 was one of the worst seasons I have seen for a reliever in my life. After one appearance on Opening Day, he was sent to the Disabled List until mid May. He’d struggled throughout May and have his ERA up at 7.50 to end the month.
Cecil had a hot stretch like he did in 2017, and by the time Mid-July rolled around, he had a respectable 3.52 ERA. Then after the All-Star break, things took a turn for the worst for Cecil. He gave up six runs in his next two appearances, and was sent to the Disabled List with a foot injury.
When he returned in mid-August, he was only thrown in situations when the game seemed lost, and when he was on the mound, he still managed to struggle.
He finished 2018 with 32.2 IP, a 6.89 ERA, a 6.28 FIP, with a 6:5 BB:K ratio and hitters were hitting .295 AVG against him. Maybe it was the injuries, but it feels like Brett Cecil is simply stealing money from Bill Dewitt.
It appears that President of Baseball Operations John Mozeilak has had it with Cecil as well. Mozeilak stated that one of the biggest struggles on the team was the lefty bullpen arms. According to beat writer Jenifer Langosch, Mozeilak stressed Brett Cecil by saying
“This year, obviously, was a lost season, and we have to decide if he’s the right answer for us or not. Sometimes a change of scenery isn’t the worst thing for someone.”
This could be a sign that Mozeilak could trade away Cecil or maybe even release him.
If the Cardinals do release Cecil, they will need to eat the remaining $15,500,00 of his contract. If the Cardinals want to trade Cecil, it would have to go through Cecil first, as he has a No-Trade Clause on his contract. With the way things are looking for Cecil recently, he might want a change of scenery as well.
With the Cardinals attempting to revamp a struggling bullpen this offseason, a lefty arm will be a big need out of the bullpen. We have already talked about guys who could come in and fill that role, in house and out of house. Getting rid of one of Mozeilak’s worst free agent signings would be the right move and something that needs to happen. I firmly believe that Brett Cecil’s days in St. Louis are over.
Do you think that Cecil will pitch again in a Cardinal uniform? Who do you think the Cardinals will add to replace him? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!