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). FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan disagrees that Cecil’s contract is unexpectedly high, though, noting that the Orioles’ Darren O’Day inked a nearly identical pact last offseason (four years, $31MM) prior to his age-33 campaign. As Sullivan points out, the numbers Cecil posted from 2014-16 are similar to O’Day’s production from 2013-15, and the former is younger (31 in July).
A couple more items on free agency:
- While third baseman Trevor Plouffe is disappointed the Twins moved on from him Friday, he saw the writing on the wall after agent Nez Balelo met with the team’s new baseball department heads – Derek Falvey and Thad Levine – last week, per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “They probably want (Miguel) Sano to be run out there every day (at third),” Plouffe told Berardino. “This guy has unlimited potential. I hope I was able to help him become a good player. I’m happy they made the decision as quick as they did. It gives me the chance to sign on with somebody else.” Even though he’s fresh off a subpar season, Plouffe shouldn’t have much difficulty finding work – the only better third base options on the market are Justin Turner and Luis Valbuena.
- The Mariners aren’t ruling out eventually re-signing reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, whom they designated for assignment Friday, general manager Jerry Dipoto told Greg Johns of MLB.com. Seattle was up against the 40-man roster limit when it parted with Wilhelmsen, and the club likely would have had to pay the arbitration-eligible right-hander in the $4MM neighborhood in 2017 had it retained him. It’s now possible the Mariners could re-up Wilhelmsen at a cheaper price in the coming months. “He did a good job, and I wish him well in free agency,” said Dipoto. “And this leaves something of an open door if something else arises and we want to bring him back.”