Scouting Report - Ricardo Rincon

The Cardinals expect to finalize the deal after Rincon undergoes a physical examination early this week.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick announced this weekend, left-handed reliever Ricardo Rincon has agreed to terms on a two-year, $2.9 million contract with St. Louis.

Rincon appeared in 67 games for the Athletics last year, allowing just 10 of 46 inherited runners to score. He'll fill the lefty relief role vacated by the trade of Ray King to Colorado last week.

"He's excited," said Dave Stewart, Rincon's agent. "St. Louis has a pretty good track record of getting into the playoffs and doing some good things, so he feels really good about this."

Rincon throws just two pitches, the two seam fastball and a slider. Both pitches are considered average by major league standards. Rincon has better control with his slider, while his fastball can be erratic at times.

Rincon will primarily be used out of the pen as a lefty specialist to face primarily lefthanded hitters.

Rincon finished the season last year, with the Oakland A's, with a 1-1 record, and a 4.34 ERA. His ERA and WHIP were higher than the league average for relief pitchers.

The 35 year old Rincon cannot be considered an upgrade over the 31 year old, recently traded, lefthanded reliever, Ray King, but considering the current free agent market situation, the signing of Rincon for two years at $2.9-million, seems reasonable.

Rincon's career numbers over 552 games in nine seasons is, 21-24 with 21 saves with an ERA of 3.53, compared to the 31 year old, Ray King's record, in 447 games, in seven seasons, of 18-18 with 1 save and a 3.12 ERA.

Rincon, like most pitchers should benefit by pitching with the St. Louis Cardinals, under the eye of pitching coach, David Duncan.

The Cardinals always looking for someone to help them in the postseason, get Rincon who has played in four American League Championship series. Twice with the Cleveland Indians, in 1999 & 2000 and twice with the Oakland A's in 2001 & 2002, unfortunately his teams came up on the losing end each time. His combined postseason record, is 0-0 with no saves and an ERA of 6.52, appearing in 10 games and pitching a total of 9.7 innings.

Rincon has history of back spasms and hamstring injuries, but is expected to be 100% healthy when the season begins. The Cardinals are expected to announce the signing of Rincon, soon after he passes his physical this week.

Rincon will be given the opportunity to improve his postseason record with St. Louis. You would expect with an agent like former pitching star, four time 20 game winner, Dave Stewart, behind him, he'll be ready to do just that.

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