The St. Louis Cardinals weren't kidding, as it turns out, when they repeatedly expressed their interest in a left-handed relief pitcher. On Wednesday they signed the most prototypical model still on the market, grabbing 37-year-old Randy Choate on what is [terrifyingly, a three-year deal.] Choate turns left-handers into the new Chone Figgins—.201/.278/.284—and right-handers into the old Chone Figgins—.279/.404/.401, which is to say that he's smart enough to try not to pitch to them. Here's the latest on Twitter as of this instant:
Last year, after going from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers for some young, extremely cheap guy, probably, he made 36 appearances and pitched... 13.1 innings. In his career, he's appeared in 476 games and accrued 2.6 rWAR, which is why, maybe, the left-handed-relief fixation seemed so odd.
Deployed properly, though, Choate is an effective reliever. Deployed improperly, you'll get really mad during the gamethreads. The other thing to watch about this move: How does this effect Marc Rzepczynski's effectiveness and deployment patterns? The Cardinals have gone all-in on the idea that he was bothered by being the only left-hander in the bullpen, and this solves that problem. Because compared to Randy Choate, Scrabble might as well be Jeff Nelson.
[ed. - preliminary reports indicate the deal was for $7.5m across three years. hoo boy.]