In 8 seasons with the Blue Jays, Brett Cecil went 41-42 with a 4.20 ERA. (Photo courtesy of Keith Allison)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Brett Cecil, he’s been a big part of the Blue Jays bullpen for many years, but there are just certain times when you hear about a players new contract and just say “Really?” Cecil signing with the Cardinals for 4 years at $30.5 million was one of those moments for me. My reaction was less disappointment at seeing one of Toronto’s more reliable relievers depart, and more bewilderment that the Cardinals would pay such big money for a slightly above average left-handed reliever.
If this is the going rate for a solid left-handed relief pitcher, maybe Aroldis Chapman wasn’t too far off the mark when he claimed to be expecting a deal for up to $100 million this off-season. Obviously it would have been nice for Toronto to have re-signed Cecil, but not at $7.625 million/year, and certainly not for so many years. That’s an awful lot of money, especially for a left-handed specialist who’ll only give you between 50-60 innings/year.
Apparently now that the whole world is onto the Cardinals and that scheme of theirs to steal from the Astros internal database, they don’t appear to have any clue how much they should actually be paying for a player like Cecil. As a Jays fan I’ve been watching Cecil since he came up in 2009 and began his big league career as a decent starting pitcher. After making the move to the bullpen in 2013, Cecil went on to have three consecutive years with an ERA below 3.00, but just this past season had an off-year with five losses in April alone, and ended up 1-7 with a 3.93 ERA.
During Cecil’s best three seasons out of the bullpen between 2013-2015, he was every bit as good against right-handed hitters as he was against lefties. And for a team like St.Louis who knows their biggest competition over the next little while (maybe long while) will come from the Chicago Cubs and their line-up loaded with both solid left and right-handed hitters, a reliever like Cecil becomes that much more valuable to them. You’ve got to admire the doggedness of the Cardinals though…it isn’t enough that they’ve been beating up on the Cubs for ages, but the moment the Cardinals start to get handed beat downs, they toss all logic out the window and begin with these desperation moves. I don’t want to sound too mean, but who do the Cardinals think they’re fooling with this acquisition, because short of them also acquiring Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Clayton Kershaw, there’s no way they’ll be supplanting the Cubs atop the NL Central anytime soon.