In a relief market that has, at times, felt like The Big Three (Chapman/Jansen/Melancon) and then everyone else, there is at least one other reliever who has been notably excellent for several years running.



That reliever is lefty Brett Cecil, and he’s headed to the Cardinals:



The investment in a non-closer reliever is significant – recall, it wasn’t that long ago that Andrew Miller’s 4-year, $36 million contract was believed to be a really huge deal for such a reliever and now looks like a steal – but the game is changing. Not only is it awash in money, but teams recognize the value of high-leverage relievers, whenever they might appear in a given game.

Cecil, 30, is a lefty without dramatic splits in the last few years, which is when he cemented himself as among the better relievers in the game. The one warning sign you might see with him, however, is that after dominant seasons in 2013, 2014, and 2015, he posted a mediocre 3.93 ERA and 3.64 FIP this past season. The peripherals still look strong, though, as he struck out 28.7% of the batters he faced while walking just 5.1%. The 20.0% HR/FB ratio and the .344 BABIP may have been flukes that inflated his results, and might not repeat next season.

Seung Hwan Oh is now at the back of the Cardinals’ bullpen, which struggled at times last year, and he was very good. With Cecil in tow, they could have a really nice tandem for the later innings.



Notably, Passan hears that teams could be ready to spend wild on relievers, given the market’s lack of other pitching options:

UPDATE: Good gravy, yes, the market for Cecil must have been crazy competitive:

*starts to think about what it might take to sign Kenley Jansen, gets much less optimistic … *




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