The 2013 Blue Jays are soon to finish one of its most disappointing seasons in its history and there have not been many bright spots along the way. One person who bucked this trend was first time All Star Brett Cecil who had a career year and it happens to be as he is arbitration eligible.
This is Brett’s first full season in relief and now that he has been shut down for the rest of the season we can look at his numbers and try to predict where he will fit with the organization going forward.
His Career Numbers (Including when he was a starter)
Its clear by the above that the blue jays have found something in Cecil in Relief. His Strike out per nine is a very impressive 10.4 and he has cut his career ERA numbers in half. Coming from relief has given the tall lefty the ability to reach back a throw a little harder which is one reason for his success. In 2013 Brett has averaged 92.3 MPH on his fast ball which is the highest it has been in his career (which only averaged 89.9 MPH)
Now let’s have a look at Brett’s Contract Situation:
2014 will be Brett’s first of 3 years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent in 2017.
How Does Salary Arbitration work?
Now that we have determined who is eligible for arbitration, it is time to divulge into how the process works. By January 17, 2012 players and teams must exchange yearly contract figures. The club’s offer cannot be less than the player’s total compensation from the prior year and may not be less than 70% of his compensation from two years earlier. These rules do not apply when clubs offer free agents arbitration. If the player and team can come to an agreement on a yearly contract, they avoid arbitration. Alternatively the player and team can agree on a multi-year contract extension to avoid arbitration. Arbitration hearings begin February 1 and last through February 21. Just because a hearing is scheduled does not mean the player and team will actually have an arbitration hearing. After the deadline, the player and team can still come to an agreement, often meeting in the middle. For example, if the player asked for 10 million and the team offered 9 million, they can settle at 9.5 million. Essentially, they are just meeting in the middle. If the player and team cannot agree on a yearly contract or extension before the hearing date, they have an actual salary arbitration hearing in front of a panel of three arbitrators. Actually having a hearing is rare, as the vast majority of players are able to effectively negotiate with their team prior to the hearing date.
Brett Cecil Made $510K in 2012 and this number will be going up next year. Lets now compare Brett to a 2012 Reliever who pitched well and had an arbitration settlement coming into this year. Sergio Romo had a similar SO/9 of 10.2 and a lower ERA in 2012 1.79. His arbitration settlement of $1.575 should be a good guide for Cecil and both sides should end up agreeing on a value in this range.
Now where does he fit in 2014?
The Blue Jays are lucky that they have another reliever who was an All Star in Steve Delabar in the Bull Pen. If the Blue Jays decide to not trade Casey Janssen then both Brett and Steve are perfect 7th and 8th inning guys. Fans love to have a lock down closer but 2014 could be the season where the Blue Jays have dominate Pitching starting in the 7th inning. This would be a big advantage as the starters would then only need to get through the first six or seven innings before allowing their relievers finish strong.
Bottom Line: The Blue Jays need to and will invest in Brett as he is a valuable piece in making this team a contender. Having Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil gives the team a two-headed monster from the pen that they will need to contend in this always tough AL East division. While the team has many needs this offseason, they can not forget to retain the main strength of the 2013 Blue Jays, their Bullpen