Brett Cecil tied the major league record for consecutive games without allowing an earned run (38) in the first week of 2016, carrying over from a strong 2015 season. However, things quickly went downhill as he went 0-5 with a 5.14 ERA and .339 BAA over 21 first-half appearances. The left-hander missed about six weeks with a torn lat, but showed improvement upon his return. He allowed just one run after Aug. 24 en route to a 3.18 ERA, .221 BAA and 33 strikeouts over 33 appearances (22.2 innings) post All-Star break. Cecil demonstrated great control throughout his turbulent campaign, posting a career-best 2.0 BB/9 while racking up an 11.0 K/9 -- marking the 29-year-old's fourth straight season of managing an 11-plus K/9. He'll have prominent role in the St. Louis bullpen after signing a a four-year, $30.5 million deal.
Cecil will be a part of Team USA in the WBC, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. After eight seasons north of the border with the Blue Jays, the veteran southpaw inked a four-year deal with the Cardinals on Nov. 19, and will be part of a Team USA staff that includes the Royals' Danny Duffy, the Tigers' Michael Fulmer, the Rays' Chris Archer, the Nationals' Tanner Roark, and former Toronto teammates J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman. Cecil could serve as one of manager Jim Leyland's top bullpen options alongside the Indians' Andrew Miller during the tournament, and he'll look to bounce back this coming season from a somewhat shaky 2016 campaign that saw him post his highest ERA (3.93) since 2012.
Cecil has agreed to a four-year deal possibly in excess of $30 million with the Cardinals, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. A four-year deal is quite the windfall for a reliever that had a rough contract year, posting a 3.93 ERA and missing time with a triceps strain in 2016. Still, his larger body of work is impressive enough to warrant a multi-year deal and the Cardinals are drasticlly in need of left-handed help out of the bullpen with Zach Duke (elbow) and Tyler Lyons (knee) out for several months due to surgery.
Cecil was reportedly offered a three-year contract to resign with Toronto, Sportsnet reports. Cecil posted a 3.93 ERA over 54 appearances and 36.2 innings pitched in 2016. A left triceps strain forced him to miss six weeks beginning in mid-May, and Cecil's ERA had peaked at 6.75 by July 20th. From that point on, however, the southpaw regained his velocity and posted a 1.74 ERA in his final 30 appearances.
Cecil picked up his eighth hold of the season, pitching one inning and striking out two Wednesday against Baltimore. The southpaw was called upon in a pressing spot on Wednesday, entering with a pair of runners on base and one out in the top of the seventh. Cecil successfully work around the trouble while extending his streak to 15 straight scoreless outings. The 30-year-old should continue getting opportunities to pitch in high-leverage situations with Joaquin Benoit possibly out for the season because of a torn left calf muscle. Cecil been a rare bright spot in the Jays' struggling bullpen during the final month.
Cecil was asked to retire just one batter, David Ortiz, in Sunday's game against the Red Sox. He induced a weak lineout from the power-hitting lefty. Cecil, typically a late-inning specialist, made an unusual early appearance in relief Sunday. He was called on in the fourth inning with nobody on base and two outs, an atypical low-leverage situation for Cecil. Nonetheless, the left-hander got the job done to extend his scoreless appearance streak to a season-best eight games. Cecil has made four September appearances, allowing two hits and notching four strikeouts in 2.2 innings.