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Cardinals Sign Reliever Brett Cecil Who Had Never Been To St. Louis Before; And, DFA B Pena

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The first big move for the St. Louis Cardinals, to take care of a replacement for the downed LHP Zach Duke (Tommy John's surgery). With a lot of interest in the 30 year old free agent LHP Brett Cecil, the Cardinals won out as they signed Cecil (physical passed) for 4 Yrs/$30.5 MM with no team option. The "next earliest" he will be a free agent will be in 2021. He will be a boost for the Cardinals bullpen, another lefty along with Kevin Siegrist (2.77 ERA/61.2 IP). A very big attraction for the Cardinals to give this young hurler longevity is his versatility and bullpen flexibility. Plus, six scoreless innings in the past postseason was not all bad, either.  Coming back from a torn lat injury, his first half of 2016 was not customary for Cecil, holding a 5.14 ERA prior to the All Stars. However, post-All stars, he lowered that down to a 3.18 ERA. He made his debut, 2009 with his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays, and logged eight seasons with the Canadians. Keeping in mind, he will be mid-to-late inning coverage; but he, also, has had 11 career saves. In 2016, limited 36.2 IP, had a very impressive 45/8 K:BB ratio. 

LHP Brett Cecil, his first time ever to St. Louis prior to his signing with the St. Louis Cardinals (Photo: Christina M. Fletes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

For those not completely sold on this signing, I feel Cecil will get back to his 2.67 ERA of the past three seasons prior to 2016. Consider this:  His three season (2013-2015) totals ~ 167.4 innings pitched with a 216/63 K:BB ratio. I happen to have faith his 3.12 average of 2016, will be below the 3.00 mark in 2017. A great addition to the Cardinals bullpen. 

Let's get to know Brett Cecil (per David Wilhelm, Belleville News-Democrat).  Here is what Cecil has to say about his versatility/flexibility. 

CECIL HAD NEVER BEEN TO ST. LOUIS PRIOR TO THE "INTRODUCTION" PRESS CONFERENCE 

Officially, I may now say ~ Welcome aboard, Brett Cecil. 

Not only had he not been to St. Louis, playing or otherwise, he is not familiar with the Cardinals players, either. Per Wilhelm's article:  [Cecil] I can say I’ve heard a lot of great things about St. Louis – the city, the baseball club and the players on the team,” he said. “I have yet to hear anything negative. It’s a baseball city. That influenced our decision to come here a lot.” This means a lot,” Cecil said at a Busch Stadium press conference. “This organization is very rich in baseball history. They have a winning tradition. When all the teams were being mentioned and St. Louis came along, it was very exciting for me and my family to hear that they were interested. We knew in our hearts this was the right move for us.”

I'm sure, Cecil will be welcomed by team leaders, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and Matt Carpenter. Although may be Spring training before he meets all the team. But, knowing the Cardinals way, won't be long before he's one of the "Boys wearing Birds on the Bat" uniforms and made comfortable in his future role. 

40 MAN ROSTER, ONE PLAYER ADDED - ONE MUST BE REMOVED.

To be able to add Cecil to the Cardinals 40-Man roster, they chose to DFA (designated for assignment) back-up veteran catcher Brayan Pena. He was signed in the 2015 off-season, 2 Yr/$5 MM, as the primary back-up for Yadier Molina coming back from two thumbs surgeries, rehabbing during Spring training and not sure Molina's status by Opening Day. As misfortune would have it, Pena sustained a knee injury during Spring training which required surgery placing him on the 60-Day DL. For 2016, he logged all of 19 innings as backstop. Therefore, not a total surprised to see him DFA'd.  

We are familiar with the term. But, for those who are unaware of the full circumstance in which it affects a player's future, here is the MLB definition: "When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster. Within 10 days of the transaction, the player can either be traded, claimed off irrevocable outright waivers, assigned to the Minor Leagues or released [free agency] -- though he must pass through waivers in order to be eligible for the latter two moves." 

Next up for the Cardinals ~ a centerfielder? Soon, very soon, in my opinion. 

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