Blue Jays Debate: A Brett Cecil Extension

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Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

The Brett Cecil Extension: Closing Arguments

Mat Germain –

The case we just went through can be summarized fairly easily. Brett Cecil is a career-long Blue Jay. He managed alright as a starter, but really found a niche as a reliever, where he’s provided the Jays with a dominant LHP to count on game-in, game out.

There’s a 3 year track record to go on, and aside from blips on the radar early on in 2015, he’s outperformed the majority of MLB relievers and matched some of the very best. The finances are there to extend him, and if we assess he’ll match what’s expected to be handed to O’Day, he is well-worth the investment.

Keeping him around provides stability and experience for a pen that sorely needs a larger veteran presence. Allowing that presence to walk away without an extension doesn’t seem to make sense and the intangibles point to him being an extremely important part of the team’s success long-term.

If you really try hard enough, I believe you can pick apart some flaws and use examples of some relievers who don’t live up to their contracts once they earn them. But in Cecil’s case, he’s been able to overcome so much as a Blue Jays pitcher and still come out on top, ready to battle, that you can’t expect a let-down to occur. If anything, I expect it to be entirely the opposite and that he’ll relish the veteran role he’d be handed.

As I said before, I really don’t believe it will cost as much as some think for the Jays to keep Cecil around. However, with the argument I’ve made above, I believe he’s more than worth that kind of investment anyhow. Therefore, my advice is an extension as a similar average cost (most likely slightly less) to what O’Day will earn in 2017. Not signing Cecil to an extension risks the effectiveness of the pen as a whole and short-changes Cecil and fans who deserve to see him remain in Toronto as an important and cherished part of the team.

Jim Scott –

Brett Cecil is a good player, and I hope that the Jays manage to keep him. But there are many red flags about his 2015 performance – his wildly inconsistent splits (first half opponent wOBA of .320 and ERA of 4.66), his sudden jump in pitch values for his sinker and change-up, and his clearly unsustainable 0.00 ERA in the second half. It would be very dangerous for the Jays to pay top dollar based on a career season with so many questions.

I am also concerned with the timing. The success of the Royals, and the lack of high-quality free agent relievers, has made this a seller’s market. If ever there were a time that Brett would demand top dollar, this is it.

Now, it is entirely possible that I am wrong. Brett could agree to sign a team-friendly extension, for fewer years and for less dollars than I project. At the right price and the right term, I would extend him without hesitation. But I think it unlikely that the Jays would get that price, or that term.

To me, whether the Jays can afford to sign Brett (or any player) to a bad contract is not the right question. The better question is whether they should do so. And in my opinion, if overpaying Brett is the only way to get him to extend, the answer is no.

Next: Toronto Blue Jays Top 5 First Basemen of All Time

That completes the debate. Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments, as well as whether or not each point was plausible, accurate, or add to them with what we missed!