#8 - Brett Cecil signing
The offseason before signing Andrew Miller, the Cardinals decided to invest significant dollar in signing a different left handed reliver, Brett Cecil.
Cecil was just coming off a four-year stretch with the Blue Jays where he posted a 2.90 ERA over 205 innings out of the bullpen, which earned him a four-year, $30.5 million deal with St. Louis prior to the 2017 season. In 2017, Cecil was okay for the club, posting a 3.88 ERA over 67.1 innings of work, but his strikeout rate had fallen and home run rate rose, things that would get much worse in 2018.
In 40 games that season, Cecil posted a 6.89 ERA companied by a 1.96 WHIP, 6.9 walks per nine, and 1.5 home runs per nine innings of work. Cecil was just awful, and the Cardinals decided it was better to just go ahead and eat the rest of his contract, rather than making things work another year.
Eating $7.5 million in 2019 and $3 million in 2020 weren't the worst pills to have to shallow, but wasting money in that range or higher is never a good thing, and the Cardinals' can confidently say they did that with the Cecil signing. Where I do give them some credit here was, just like the Miller signing, they went out and tried to acquire one of the best left-handed relievers in the game, but both tries proved to be mistakes in the end.