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Blue Jays Debate: A Brett Cecil Extension

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Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Brett Cecil Extension: Best Case vs Worst Case

Mat Germain –

The worst case scenario for the Jays is that they let Brett Cecil walk and he signs with an A.L. East opponent. The other worry would be if he blew out his arm or shoulder, which would nullify one of – or the majority of – his seasons under a significant contract. But that’s why you have insurance, and in the case of a reliever, recovery tends to be much quicker than a starter. It’s also less risky to invest in a reliever in terms of injury, as they tend to hold up well over time. You don’t need to look much further than Latroy Hawkins to see that!

Best Case scenario would be that he continues his progression and provides the Blue Jays with one of the best 3 LHP relievers in the MLB. If you were to ask most MLB Managers what they value most in their pen, it would be a dominant closer, followed closely by a dominant LHP reliever. If you have both of those things in your pen, you’re going to win a ton of games and keep the leads you have more often than most. With Roberto Osuna potentially poised to be a closer long-term, having Cecil back there with him would ensure the team has a dominant pen for years to come at an overall affordable cost.

Jim Scott –

I don’t see it as a “worst case”, but I believe that a more realistic scenario is that Brett’s 2015 season is an outlier and that he starts to regress back to a true talent level in 2016 and beyond. Remember that Brett’s outstanding 2015 was made up of a first half with a 4.66 ERA and .320 wOBA and a second half with an ERA of zero. I find it hard to believe that the zero ERA represents Brett’s – or any player’s – true talent level. And Brett’s 2015 PITCH/fx ratings for his sinker and change were hugely higher than in any prior year.

So suppose that Steamer is right, and that Brett regresses to a 2.90 ERA, making him a top-50 reliever entering his 30s. That is still very good, and well worth having, but it makes for a very different discussion than the top-10 reliever Mat describes.

And appreciate that this is far from a worst case. There are many cases of relievers experiencing substantial declines in a single year – Heath Bell with the Marlins, Jim Johnson with the A’s and Tigers, Joe Nathan with the Tigers.   While the risk of a similar Cecil meltdown in 2016 is low, it is not zero.

Next: The Brett Cecil Extension: The Intangibles and Indirects

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