ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The Cardinals have made their first major acquisition of the offseason, according to a report from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
The team has reportedly agreed to a deal with lefty reliever Brett Cecil, an eight-year veteran who has spent his entire major league career in Toronto.
The 30-year-old brings a hard, heavy curve and and worm-killing cutter with him to the Cardinals’ bullpen, but was almost certainly targeted for his experience. St. Louis lost veteran lefty Zach Duke to arm surgery at season’s end, and several other left-handed option besides Kevin Siegrist–like Tyler Lyons, Marco Gonzales and Jaime Garcia–are currently on the books as a starters. After neglecting to protect internal lefty options like Corey Littrell or Ryan Sherriff from Rule 5 eligibility Friday, it's no surprise General Manager John Mozeliak endeavored to add someone with several years on their resume–think Jonathan Broxton, Randy Choate, Pat Neshek and the aforementioned Duke.
While he had a rough 2016 on paper, the former Blue Jay has held lefties to below a .200 average in two of the last four years. Over his career (three years of which were spent as a starter) hitters post an average of .226 from the left side of the plate.
The club has not confirmed the deal, but Passan reported a length of four years, with a price tag that could exceed $30 million. Cecil's deal is the first major relief domino to fall this winter, and seems to be a harbinger of a price explosion for bullpen assets.
While the price seems high for a name devoid of much flash, the Cardinals could end up benefiting from striking early; setting the market price rather than being at the mercy of it as they pursue a dwindling pool of assets later in free agency.