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National League

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Signed LHP Sean Burnett to a two-year deal worth $8 million with a club option. [12/5]

Left-handed specialists Randy Choate and Jeremy Affeldt both received three years guaranteed. Burnett did not. It may have to do with Burnett’s crazy eyes or his offseason elbow surgery to remove bone spurs. Or maybe it’s because Burnett received more guaranteed money than Choate and doesn’t have two rings like Affeldt. Whatever the explanation, the Angels figure to feature a pair of solid left-handed relievers in Burnett and Scott Downs, who’s more of a multipurpose arm. Burnett has limited lefties to a .207 TAv, not quite as dominant as Choate’s, but he’s compensated by not being quite as allergic to righties, holding them to a .267 figure compared to Choate’s .330.

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St. Louis Cardinals
Signed LHP Randy Choate to a three-year deal worth $7.5 million. [12/5]

To paraphrase Jay-Z, “John Mozeliak didn’t pass the bar but he knows a little bit, enough to know that against Choate left-handers can’t hit.” Indeed, same-handed batters have a .187 multi-year True Average against Choate. The side-arming Texan uses a two-pitch mix, sinker-slider, and tends to induce more than 60 percent groundballs per season. Giving any situational reliever three years guaranteed is bound to elicit some scoffs, but the money is low and the best left-handed relievers don’t seem biodegradable.

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Cardinals did a nice job of filling a need, even if they had to go to three years. Choate fits their pen perfectly with all of their right handed power arms in bullpen.