Blue Jays strip “not sharp” Brett Cecil of closer duties

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Brett Cecil has made just one appearance since being named Toronto’s closer, but that was enough to convince the Blue Jays that he’s not the right man for the job.

Cecil has been stripped of ninth-inning duties after a blown save Thursday against the Yankees in which he retired just one of the four batters he faced while throwing in the high-80s. Cecil had an abbreviated spring training thanks to shoulder issues and manager John Gibbons told reporters that the left-hander “is not sharp.”

Cecil was one of the AL’s best relievers in 2013 and 2014, throwing a combined 114 innings with a 2.76 ERA and 146/50 K/BB ratio, but if he’s not fully healthy there’s no reason to keep trotting him out there in a high-leverage role. Gibbons declined to name a full-time closer replacement, but 20-year-old Miguel Castro may get the first crack at the job despite making the jump from Single-A to the majors.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.