Just days before the start of the 2020 season, the St. Louis Cardinals have made two moves that answer two questions about the initial 30-man roster.
It’s the end of an era in St. Louis. More specifically, it’s the end of the Brett Cecil era. On Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that the team would be letting go of the 34-year-old reliever.
In the last three seasons, it has been hard to rival the disdain that Brett Cecil got from the Cardinals’ fanbase. You can tell this because of the resounding joy with the news that he was cut.
Don’t get me wrong, it was the right move, but it doesn’t mean we can’t wish Cecil’s time in St. Louis had gone better.
The writing was on the wall in the spring when it became clear early on that Cecil would’ve started the normal 2020 season on the IL. Cecil survived long enough to come to Summer Camp where he was reportedly rarely hitting above 81 mph on the radar gun.
I applaud Cecil for trying to get creative and drop his arm angle to add some funk to his pitches, but with the three-batter minimum rule instituted this year, it wasn’t looking good.
The four-year, $30.5M deal John Mozeliak signed Cecil to before the 2017 season is one of the favorite things Mo-detractors like to bring up. It wasn’t all bad though. In his first year with the club, Cecil had a 3.88 ERA, he made 73 appearances and had an ERA+ of 109. Sadly, Cecil’s health slid off a cliff quickly.
In 2018, Cecil’s ERA jumped a full 3.01 points to 6.89, and he appeared in just 40 games in an injury-riddled season.
After losing a ton of weight prior to the 2019 season, things were looking up for Cecil. However, his body once again couldn’t hold up and he didn’t throw a single MLB inning last season.
Now, Cecil can finally rest.
I never like cheering for a guy to get cut, and every time Cecil had a chance to get behind a microphone, he always said the right things. Sadly though, being a good person off the field can’t keep your job.
Mr. Saxon is completely correct here, as Cecil’s contract was unequivocally a bad deal for the team. What I would add though is that the Cecil deal shouldn’t discourage them from pursuing free agents, just free agent relievers on the wrong side of 30. Cecil was entering his age-30 season when the team signed him to that four-year deal, but it’s not surprising that they haven’t signed any deals of similar length since.
Along with the Cecil news, the team also announced that Brad Miller would be starting the season on the IL with a right ankle issue. Miller was expected to be a solid lefty bat off the bench, and in his absence, I would expect Edmundo Sosa to take his place.
As for Cecil’s spot in the bullpen, Derrick Goold announced that Kodi Whitley would be making the team, but they will also be without Giovanny Gallegos at first. Add to it that Junior Fernandez may be “pitching his way out of a role,” and the bullpen has a ton of open spots all of the sudden.
It is not yet completely clear who will fill these spots, but the 11-man bullpen will definitely be made up of a lot of young players.
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Cutting Brett Cecil was the best move for the team, and I applaud them for not wasting any games with him on the roster, but it is still sad to think about how poorly his time went here.