Cardinals Place Brad Miller on IL, Release Brett Cecil

photo: Brett Cecil (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

A day ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day 30-man roster announcement, the club made two personnel moves, communicated via social media prior to their Wednesday exhibition contest against the Kansas City Royals.

Brian Walton’s take

Miller, signed as a free agent to a one-year, $2 million contract as spring camp opened, has been out of game action for two weeks, but was still able to take batting practice and take grounders. The entire way, his status had been called day-to-day.

By making this move, the left-handed hitting utilityman can go on a rehab assignment to the team’s alternate camp in Springfield and keep working out until allowed to run at full speed.

The most likely functional replacement for Miller, who essentially was slated to take the roster spot filled by Yairo Munoz last season, would be 40-man roster infielder Edmundo Sosa. However, there are rumors that first baseman-outfielder Austin Dean has made the team, and if so, he could temporarily replace Miller on the 30-man active roster.

IL stints that start during training camps can be backdated up to three days, with Miller’s effective on July 20. Add ten days and he could be activated by the end of the month. The Cardinals will open their second road set of the season in Milwaukee on Friday, July 31.

Brad Miller

The Cardinals gave Cecil as much time as they could, but made the decision to sever ties with Opening Day right around the corner. In a last-ditch effort to salvage his job, the lefty had moved to a lower arm slot, but early results were not impressive.

Without Cecil, the bullpen is still well-fortified from the left side with closer Kwang-Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, Tyler Webb and Austin Gomber, with Genesis Cabrera behind the others in preparation.

Cecil’s 40-man roster spot could be used on an up-and-coming pitcher such as Kodi Whitley or Johan Oviedo.

With the release, the Cardinals remain responsible for the final year (albeit prorated) of Cecil’s four-year, $30.5 million contract signed in November 2016. To say his stint, which totaled 113 appearances of 4.86 ERA results, was a disappointment is a colossal understatement.

Given his long decline in performance, one would think that it may be difficult for Cecil to secure another major league contract at this time. But even if he does ink a big-league deal with another club for 2020, the Cardinals will remain on the hook for the majority of his remaining financial commitment.

Brett Cecil


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