Brett Cecil (Nick Turchiaro / USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of November 14-20, 2016.

Last week’s St. Louis Cardinals news includes a new pitcher, another leaving and four 40-man roster additions.

Cardinals agree to deal with lefty Brett Cecil

It was announced on Saturday that the St. Louis Cardinals have reached an agreement with free agent left handed reliever Brett Cecil.  The deal is reportedly for four years and worth $30.5 million with full no-trade protection.  The agreement is pending a physical.

The 30-year old had pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays for all eight seasons of his major league career.  Cecil has a career record of 41-42 in 656 innings pitched and a 4.20 ERA.  He was 1-7 with an ERA of 3.93 in 2016.  The lefty has held left handed hitters to a career .226/.281/.344 slash line. Against right handed hitters Cecil is less effective, with righties hitting .273 against him.

The loss of lefty Zack Duke, who had Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2017 season, as well as the knee injury to another left hander, Tyler Lyons, were the precipitating factors to inking the large contract with Cecil.  Cecil will join Kevin Siegrist as the second left hander in the bullpen.

The deal with Cecil leaves the Cardinals plenty of time to pursue another offseason goal, obtaining an outfielder to join Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty, following the loss of Matt Holliday and Brandon Moss to free agency.  The Cardinals’ initial focus will be on finding a center fielder to enable them to shift Grichuk to left.  Barring that, a corner outfielder will be pursued and Grichuk will remain in center.


Cardinals finalize 40 man roster in advance of Rule 5 Draft

In advance of the Friday deadline to finalize the 40 man roster in preparation for the December 8 Rule 5 draft, the Cardinals announced the addition of four minor league players.

Added to the roster were outfielder Magneuris Sierra, shortstop Edmundo Sosa, second baseman Eliezer Alvarez, and right handed reliever Rowan Wick.  Sierra and Sosa played for the Peoria Chiefs during the 2016 season, while Sosa spent most of the 2016 with the Chiefs, but ended the season with the Palm Beach Cardinals.  Wick began the 2016 season with Palm Beach, and ended the summer with the Springfield Cardinals.  Wick was also one of seven players the Cardinals sent to play in the Arizona Fall League, which ran from October 11 through November 19.

Sierra had a slash line of .307/.335/.395 in 562 PAs with the Chiefs in 2016.  Alvarez hit .323/.404/.476 in 499 PAs in Peoria.

Sosa played the majority of 2016 with the Chiefs, hitting .268/.307/.336 in 378 PAs.  Sosa played in nine games to conclude his 2016 season for the Palm Beach Cardinals, slashing .294/.314/.412.  Wick pitched in 23 games for Palm Beach to begin 2016, with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 1.09.  The right hander finished the season for the Springfield Cardinals, appearing in 21 games with an ERA of 4.12.  In 10 innings pitched in the Arizona Fall League, Wick had a record of 0-1 and an ERA of 4.50.

With only three spots open on the roster prior to the additions, the Cardinals placed LHP Tim Cooney on outright waivers, and he was claimed on Friday by the Cleveland Indians.  Cooney spent the entire 2016 season on Memphis’ disabled list after shoulder issues hampered him in spring training camp.  The lefty was later diagnosed with a Bennett lesion and underwent shoulder surgery in late July.

After the four additions, the 40-man roster is now full.   Among notable players left unprotected are pitchers Ryan Sheriff, Corey Littrell, and Arturo Reyes.  Another spot will need to be opened to add newly acquired relief pitcher Brett Cecil.


Cardinals Hall of Fame museum features new exhibit

An exhibit to honor the contributions of women to baseball opened in the Cardinals Hall of Fame museum on Friday.   More than 100 artifacts are on display in the exhibit, featuring exhibits honoring such women as Helene Britton, the first female owner of a professional sports franchise, and Allie May Schmidt, who inspired the Cardinals’ logo of the birds on the bat.  The exhibit includes Schmidt’s original hand painted cardinal birds.

The exhibit also includes displays about local women who participated in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as well as the organizations Ladies’ Day traditions, and the Cardinals contribution to the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.

In conjunction with Friday’s opening, the Cardinals hosted a “Ladies Night at Cardinal Nation” that went from 6-9 p.m. CT.  The opening featured live music as well as food and drink.  Admission to the museum on Friday was free.

The exhibit will be open to the public for a year.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.



The Cleveland Indians claimed LHP Tim Cooney off waivers from the Cardinals.  Cooney was placed on outright waivers to open a roster spot for Rule 5 draft excluded players.

The Cardinals selected the contracts of OF Magneuris Sierra from the Peoria Chiefs, SS Edmundo Sosa from the Palm Beach Cardinals, 2B Eliezer Alvarez from the Peoria Chiefs, and RHP Rowan Wick from the Springfield Cardinals.  All four were placed on the 40-man roster to protect them from selection in the Rule 5 draft.

The Cardinals signed free agent SS Wilfredo Tovar, free agent RF Todd Cunningham, free agent LHP Zach Phillips, and free agent RHP Kendry Flores to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training.

The Cardinals signed free agent LHP Brett Cecil to a major league contract.  The terms of the contract are four years and $30.5 million.


Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.


Looking Ahead

With the deadline having passed for finalizing reserve rosters in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft, the Cardinals next will turn to tendering contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players.  The Cardinals’ arbitration eligible players are Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez.  It is likely that all six arbitration eligible players will be tendered contracts by the December 2 deadline.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin on December 5, in Washington D.C. The Rule 5 Draft will mark the conclusion on the morning of the 8th.  The Winter Meetings are the event where many offseason transactions occur, both signings of free agents, and trades.   The Cardinals have already signed left handed reliever Brett Cecil to a four-year contract, satisfying one of their offseason goals. 

The Cardinals are expected to either sign or trade for an outfielder to bolster the defense for the 2017 season.  Improving the defense is one of the stated goals for the Cardinals, and they are specifically targeting a center fielder to add to Stephen Piscotty in right field, and Randal Grichuk in left field.   Another option is to acquire a left fielder, and keep Grichuk in center.

As a result of the signing of Cecil, a roster spot must be opened for the left handed reliever, so expect an additional subtraction from the 40-man roster in the near future.

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