Report: Cardinals sign LHP Brett Cecil to 4-year deal

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The Cardinals have reportedly signed left-handed reliever Brett Cecil to a four-year, $30.5 million deal, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The signing is pending a physical, and while the team has yet to officially announce anything, Passan explained that Cecil’s new contract could set the bar even higher for relief pitchers this offseason.

Passan added that the tipping point for Cecil was likely the Cardinals’ willingness to commit to four years, as other interested parties had proposed three-year deals that did not come to fruition.

Cecil, 30, completed his eighth and final year with the Blue Jays in 2016, logging a career-low 36 2/3 innings as he worked his way back from a torn lat muscle. During the regular season, he posted a 3.93 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 45 strikeouts and returned in the postseason for six appearances as the Blue Jays battled through the Division and Championship Series. When healthy, his track record as a full-time reliever looked considerably more impressive: from 2013-2015, the left-hander put up a 2.67 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 11.5 K/9 rate over 168 1/3 innings in Toronto.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.