Free agent left-handed reliever Randy Choate and the St. Louis Cardinals have come to terms on a three-year contract. Its value is $7.5 million, according to the Associated Press.
The deal has not yet been officially announced, as it is contingent upon Choate passing a physical examination.
Choate, 37, began last season, his 12th in the majors, as a bullpen mate of Cardinals righty Edward Mujica in Miami. Like Mujica, he was dealt to a contender in July. In his case, he moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Hanley Ramirez deal.
Between the two stops, Choate had a 3.03 ERA in 80 games, tied for the most appearances in the majors. He held left-handed batters to a .158 average (16-for-101) but righties were a different story as they hit a collective .325 against him (13-for-40).
Choate was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in 1997. He spent his first decade in the majors with the Yanks, Diamondbacks and Rays before signing with the Marlins as a free agent prior to the 2011 season. He also spent time in the minors every year of his career through 2009, including the entire 2008 season with Milwaukee’s Triple-A club.
The Texas native’s career ERA is 4.02 with lefties having managed only a .201 average against him. Righties are at .279. In very limited action, left-handed hitting Reds stars Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are a collective 0-for-5 vs. Choate. They will likely be seeing each other much more often over the next three seasons.
Once this move is official, the Cardinals’ 40-man roster will be full at 40. The club will need to clear a spot if they want to add a player via this week's Rule 5 Draft. To see the entire Cardinals system, by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
Update Friday, 12/7: The deal has been finalized. Reports have Choate's annual salary broken down as $1.5 million/$3 million/$3 million.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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