Brett Cecil Signs with St. Louis Cardinals

during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.

Free agent left-handed reliever Brett Cecil is off the market. On Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Cecil to a four-year deal worth $30.5 million. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports broke the story first. The deal will become official once Cecil completes his physical.

Brett Cecil Signs with St. Louis Cardinals

Cecil, 30, is coming off an injury-plagued campaign. Various ailments limited him to just 36.2 innings; when he did take the mound, he did not see the level of success he enjoyed in previous years. After being converted to a full-time reliever in 2013, Cecil became one of the best lefty bullpen arms in the game. In each of the previous three seasons, he finished with an ERA below 3.00 and struck out at least 70 batters.

In 2016, however, his ERA rose to 3.93. He also allowed more home runs (6) than he gave up in 2013, 2014, or 2015, and did so in fewer innings. Prior to this season, he had never given up more than four home runs as a reliever in a single season, and pitched at least 53.1 innings. He also allowed as many hits (39) in 2016 as he did in 2015, in 17.2 fewer innings. The Cardinals are betting that he will regain the form he enjoyed until the 2016 season.

With free agency still ramping up, Cecil is one of the first relievers to sign with a team. While the class is relatively weak, there are a good deal of quality relief arms available. Cecil’s deal could have an enormous amount of influence on the shape the market takes as the winter goes on. Other relievers will use his deal as precedent when seeking new contracts of their own.

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