The St. Louis Cardinals have signed left-handed relief pitcher Brett Cecil, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported Saturday.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Cecil has agreed to a four-year, $30.5 million pact with St. Louis. His contract includes a full no-trade clause, per Rosenthal.
Cecil had been drawing lots of interest early in the free agent market, with the Blue Jays emerging as perhaps the biggest suitor for him in an attempt to re-sign him.
One report indicated that the Blue Jays offered Cecil a three-year deal. Passan echoed those statements, noting that Cecil agreed to the deal with the Cardinals because they were willing to guarantee him an extra fourth year.
The Cardinals bullpen, in 2016, was in the middle of the pack among Major League franchises. They ranked 13th in WAR, per FanGraphs. Their ERA as a group ranked 12th, at 3.62.
Cecil will not be the closer in this new deal. That job belongs to Korean righty Seung-hwan Oh, who posted a 1.92 ERA and a ridiculous 103-18 K/BB ratio over 79.2 IP last year. Regardless, Cecil represents an important addition to the Cardinals' bullpen to work the middle to late innings.
For Cecil's sake, the contract he earned is excellent. MLBTradeRumors.com projected him to earn a three-year, $18 million deal. A contract like this could prove to set the market for relief pitching this offseason, which is expected to be in high demand.
In 2016, the 30-year-old went 1-7 with a 3.93 ERA and a 45-8 K/BB ratio over 36.2 innings (3.64 FIP). According to FanGraphs, he was worth 0.4 WAR. He battled lat and triceps injuries throughout the year.
Since becoming a reliever full-time in 2013, Cecil has a 2.90 ERA in addition to 11.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 ratios (2.73 FIP).