Toronto Blue Jays bullpen suffers big blow with the loss of left-handed relief pitcher, Brett Cecil, to the St. Louis Cardinals
The Toronto Blue Jays have lost a valuable piece from their already weak/suspect bullpen today when Brett Cecil signed on the dotted line with the St. Louis Cardinals.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 19, 2016
With quality bullpen arms in high demand the Blue Jays reportedly offered this off-season’s second most attractive LHP a 3 year deal earlier this week. It is hard to blame Toronto’s long time LOOGY for heading to the Cardinals. An extra year and a 30.5 million dollar contract.
— MLB (@MLB) November 19, 2016
Cecil got off to a slow start in 2016, thanks to some bicep issues and maybe working out the bugs from the calf injury he suffered in the 2015 playoffs. Despite a record of 0-5, 5.14ERA in the first half, Brett Cecil turned his season around to post a record of 1-2, 3.18 ERA in the second half. Cecil struck out almost 3x the batters in the 2nd half, striking out 33 in 22.2IP versus just 12 in 14.0IP in the first half.
The talented lefty only threw 36.2 innings in 2016, finishing with an ugly 1-7 record. Cecil hadn’t finished with an ERA over 3.00 since joining the bullpen full-time in 2013, finishing with a 3.93 ERA in 2016.
In 8 season, Cecil was a starter, making 74 starts between 2009 and 2012, he was a closer, converting 11 saves between 2013 and 2015, but was most successful when used in tight non-save situations (13-8, 2.69ERA). Cecil finishes his Blue Jays career with 41 wins and 42 losses, while posting a 4.20 ERA. More importantly, Brett Cecil held LHB opponents to a .226 batting over the course of his career.
Where will the Blue Jays turn to fill the void left in the wake of Cecil’s departure?
I am a huge ‘fill from within’ type, so I’d immediately throw out names like Chad Girodo, Matt Dermody, and Ryan Tepera (he’s a righty but really good against LHB). In limited duty Girodo held LHB opponents to a .211 batting average; however, he served it up to RHB with a .318 batting. So there is work to be done there, but the movement he gets on his sinker is insane.
Dermody only threw 3.0 Major League innings so I will head to his MiLB numbers to support his selection. Matt Dermody finished with a 3-1 record and 1.82 ERA over 3 levels before reaching Toronto on September 2nd. The 26-yr-old LHP throws his FB in the low 90’s but his mid 80’s slider is a plus pitch which he used to strike out 47 in 54.1IP.
Finally, Ryan Tepera has held LHB to a .167 batting average over brief stints in 2015 and 2016.
Who is left on the Free-Agent Market?
Since the Blue Jays didn’t shell out the dough for Cecil it is unlikely they will shell it out for the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon, or Kenley Jansen. That leaves us with the Drew Storen‘s and Joaquin Benoit‘s of the world.
Thank you for everything and good luck in St. Louis
**Featured ImageCecil Credit: James G-flickr UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0