Brett Cecil $30,500,000
that's about $20M per WAR, according to Steamer




The four-year, $30.5MM deal the Cardinals and left-hander Brett Cecil agreed to Saturday is a “market changer,” multiple executives and agents have told Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, who expects relievers to continue raking in big money this offseason as part of a weak free agent class (Twitter links).


So $7-8MM per season, for a lefty specialist who has 7 WAR in 7 seasons, and "Steamer" projects to 0.3 WAR next season in 65 innings.  Four years coming off an injury!  Bill James' Ten Words for the 2015 season was "Mets' young pitchers are exciting; Royals fantastic bullpen stops everybody."  The 2015 Royals are definitely resonating, are they not?


There are many solutions to the gasp-inducing relievers market.  One of Dr. D's favorites is, "You don't have to have the platoon advantage."  Lefty relievers aren't necessary; does Edwin Diaz platoon?  

The platoon advantage out of the 'pen feels great, it makes life more complex for the other dugout, and Jerry Dipoto believes it weighs heavily.  But the 2015 Royals did not have a major lefty in the bullpen, and they did not use five switches a night, did not go hitter-by-hitter.  If you throw good pitches you'll be okay whoever is at bat, according to Wade Davis.  Granted, if your setup guy is a sidearmer ...


Still, other solutions include (1) raising the payroll (2) trading for a club-controls lefty (3) converting a talented starter like Karns and/or Miranda (4) realizing that there are many ways to win, not just the 2015 way, (5) using David Rollins (6) other

What would Dr. D do?  He would try to deal for a Mark Melancon type to wield two closers for the 8th-9th inning; he would not worry too much about a lefty; OR he would redux the 2016 spaghetti approach while grabbing an Andrew McCutchen type.  Hey, if he were Lou Piniella, he would do both.  Bring to camp a team you're happy to "go to war" with.

The bullpen was supposed to be one of the few angles left that Dipoto had to make the 2017 roster more "dangerous."  Man, it looks like the cost of that is goin' up.





According to the same MLB Trade Rumors article, the M's cut the Bartender because he'd have made $4M+ in arb.  Assuming he doesn't hold a grudge, the Mariners would be glad to have him back.



Such is the trend in baseball: 5 starters, a swing guy and 6 heater/slider throwing BP arms.  Oh...and make the call to the bullpen quickly.  Preferably 3 times a night.

Bob Gibson would have tolerated no such nonsense:  "Get off my mound, Skip!  And while you're at it, sit your stupid-arse Loogy/Roogy twins down, too!"

And then he would have welcomed the next batter with some chin music just to make the point that he was the alpha-male around here.

Chapman is certainly the alpha-male when he enters the game (except when his WS-winning manager wastes him with a 7-run lead in game 6 in the Series resulting in a noodly-apendage in Game 7), our own Diaz is, too....but most of these guys are specialists.  RP's have become the modern-day equivalent of NFL FG kickers;  you trot them out becuase it is the agreed-upoon wisdom to do it that way:  4th and 1 at the 28, kick the FG; With one out in the 7th, your starter just gave up his 4th hit, a seeing-eye flare to RF that doesn't wrinkle a blade of grass, you march out of the dugout pointing to your right or left elbow as you cross the foul line!  Such is modern wisdom.

All MLB baseball managers seem to be trending in that direction.....or have already arrived. GM's, too.  It is as if managers get a bonus for every pitching change.  Or perhaps they are fearful of the second-guessing they get if they leave the starter in.  So you stock up on BP arms.  Have you guys seen that in the collective bargaining discussions the issue of adding a 26th man to the roster is on the table?  Maybe the 26 slot is a full-time available dude or perhaps he will be used in a manner that allows a manager every 3 or 4 days to choose his 25 from the 26. You can bet that this discussion is being partially driven by the modern bullpen philosophy.  You used to want your starter to go 7.1 and then you turned it over to Eck.  Now you want 5.1 and then you turn it over to 3 cruise missiles followed by Chapman, the Big Nuke.

So you need and buy more cruise missiles.

Remember your European history?  Sure you do! In 1415, English King Henry V invaded France to reestablish his claim to his many French holdings (including Aquataine, Brittany and Normandy.....valuable real estate).  The outcome was determined by the disasterous (for the French) battle of Agincourt, one of the most important battles in history.  The armored and mounted French nobility advanced across a narrow and muddy field (squeezed in by wooded land).  There was no headlong charge because of the boggy ground.  They were decimated by the English longbowmen.  Somewhere between 4000 and 10,000 Frenchmen were killed (Henry had prisoners killed, too....a costly decision in the sense that usually captured nobility was ransomed for a handsome sum).  The Brits lost as few as 112 (some accounts put it at about 400).  The alpha-male of medieval warfare, the mounted/armored knight had been supplanted by the longbowman.  There was a new paradigm (goodness knows, I hate that phrase) and every European monarch was soon investing in archery training, clothyard shafts and shiploads of yew wood.  Daffy Duck (as Robin Hood) was soon getting $7.5M per season.  Well, maybe not Daffy, but surely Katniss Everdeen. Legolas? He gets a Chapman-sized contract.

Oh, I forgot: Shakespeare gave us one of his greatest soliloques, Henry's "Band of Brothers" speech, delivered on the eve of the battle!

Brett Cecil was a pretty good starter back in the day.  He would earn his $7.5M over 179 innings.  But now he's going to max out at 60 innings or so.  That's $125K per inning.  Clayton Kershaw, who is  on the very short list when you discuss the greatest LHP in history (Koufax, Unit, Kershaw......Spahn and Carlton, maybe?  They're good, but not in that class) will make about $147K for each of his first-ballot Hall of Fame 230 innings.

Like most RP's Cecil is a bit up and down. His OPS Allowed vs. LHP has been .438-.714-.539-.673 over the past four seasons.  vR is has been .736-.569-.576-.799.  FIP has been good, however....except for last year.  And last year is the worrisome year, isn't it. But still, Cecil's are rapidly becoming the alpha-males.  Becoming filthy rich, too.

Maybe DiPoto is ahead of the curve.  He's been willling to grab RP arms willy nilly....the spaghetti strategy.  But you stockpile up a bunch of them, find out who has the hot hand, or who has sold his soul for a season of brief very-goodness, or who doesn't have a tweaked tendon/fingernail/head....and you roll the dice with him.  Then you invest your $7.5M in Seth Smith.

I would prefer we invest our Cecil $7.5M AND our Smith $7.5M in Dexter Fowler, mind you.  

With the rising cost of RP's, what do you bet that DiPoto/Servais are considering Karns as a bullpen arm, fulltime.  He's had 41 starts the past two seasons and only 14 of them have resulted in quality starts.  I'm not sure that 34% is a very good rate.  His last 7 appearance in '16 were out of the pen.  He mostly was bombed in those 13.1 innings (15 hits, 7 BB's, 13 ER's, 3 HR's) maybe that isn't a good idea, either. But I would imagine he stands 6th in the starter pitching line, right now....and we haven't picked up our yearly Happ, yet.  

Anyway, if you're going to keep up with the Jones in the MLB today, you buy a bunch of BP arms and use them all every game (You get my drift). When you do that, Brett Cecils get really nice 4-year contracts.

I hope the ownership group is putting all their pocket change in a piggy bank, saving up for the Diaz free-agency or contract.  We're going to need those loose millions.


Yeah...that is this.  Spending that much money on FA relievers is braindead.  You need a good pen,'s not as hard to develop relievers as starters...just "git gud" at developing young hard throwers...that's the only answer to this madness.


Along those lines, they just got James Pazos from the Yankees for Zack Littell.  That was around the same time as adding the pair of multi-positionals to the 40-man from the Rays.  Trying to shake the Zobrist origin tree to see if another falls out?   I appreciate adding that depth anyway. 

There's still Boone Logan and Mike Dunn as FA lefties that hit 95+.  If that's the rate, I am with you Moe.  Put all the eggs in the Fowler basket.  With Pazos already in (speaking of 95+MPH Lefties) the monetary cost may have been avoided by paying a High A SP with upside.  A heartening read from his Brooks page:

His fourseam fastball is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, is blazing fast, has some natural sinking action and has slight armside run. His slider has exceptional depth and results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. 


...I get "VERY lively fastball with late break...BIG armside run"...

...very poor command. :)

Dude who throws hard, has great stuff, and it moves so much he has absolutely no idea where it's going.


as a lefty?  Unless he makes a leap in control he'll only have stretches of being the answer at best?  We'll see if this spring brings changes to help him correct that.  Either way more options would still be best. 


I just wonder.... where does he fit? With RHRPs Diaz, Altavilla, Vincent, Scribner, Cishek all coming off stronger '16 seasons, plus Caminero, with Zych, Marton, Aro, Venditte, and the possibility of Karns, not to mention Vieira (my personal sleeper for a June promotion)... and that's just the RHRP's!... if Wilhelmsen were a free agent, I could not justify almost $4M! And- know what? Now he is a free agent. I understand investing in RPs with strong track records- but using someone three days out of four seems to be a recipe for an arm blowout, certainly within the life of a four-year agreement. I'd argue that no relief pitcher is worth $125k per inning (especially when you compare with the PPI of Clayton Kershaw, who gives you consistent aspirin tablets on the outside corner at the knees, every fifth day.)

Selective investments- such as Littell for Pazos, our (so far) token lefty- and not a LOOGY-  may be justifiable, but overall I prefer to see us a) develop our minor-league starters, accumulate rehab RPs, and save our Big Bucks for impact hitters.

As regards Fowler- Not sure I have the stomach to throw back our first-round pick, for the second time in two years. I liked the idea of Reddick- but, not at 4/$52M! What about a) CarGo b) Michael Saunders, c) Jon Jay, d) Rajai Davis? Anyone for Koko Krisp? Or, my personal favorite "value" pick: Gergor Blanco? Or- latest novel idea- what about taking a flyer on the latest Korean coming to market?!


David Schoenfield recommends the Mariners trade Luis Gohara for Jorge Soler. I'm not convinced Soler is washed up just yet- certainly has room to grow- but Gohara seems like a steep price to pay, after his late-season success. A high price to pay even for a year of Zach Cozart!

I'm less enamored with swapping the farm for Andrew McCutchen- reminiscent, for some of us, of Bill Bavasi desperately trying to save his job by sending half the farm to the Orioles for a gimpy Erik Bedard. I think Dipoto is really good at assessing value, and less likkely to be swept off his feet by a "once in a lifetime" offer of "the missing piece". 


Soler is interesting:  Hits LHP/RHP, Home/Away equally well.  He will K, but he will pop it, too.

Alas, he dWAR'sas a terrible COF.  He's been about a -1, in part time duty, '15 & '16.  Heredia likely gives you more WAR, but it is a "softer" type.

What is it about Cuban bashing OF's?  They seem to be terrible on defense!

Soler as a fulltime OF is blocked by Smith.  As a platoon RF he may be blocked by Valencia.  But he's pretty cheap and has shown he can hit MLB types.  That said, I'm not giving them Gohara for him.  Gohara gets to Tacoma pretty quickly this season.

Soler will hit 22 HR's for you.  Will K a bunch, too.  He doesn't hit RHP that much worse than Smith does.  

How cheap can you get him?



Well, until a few days ago I MIGHT have offered Littell! However... ideally we would remove someone from the 40-man. Would they bite on Aro, Zach Lee or Boog Powell? (or, frankly, two of the three?!) 

Kyle 's picture

you might as well offer a bag of balls. Those 3 have no value.  I'd be worried if Gohara made Tacoma this year seeing as he only has 60 innings in Lo A.  If he see's Tacoma that means he was converted to relief in which case I'd jump on moving him for Soler


Q: What's it like to work with Dipoto? 

A: "Working with Jerry is the best, I feel like I get an education in some part of the game on most days. If Bill James and Bob Gibson had a baby, it would've been Jerry Dipoto."

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