Cardinals officially sign Choate

Updated: December 8, 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals finalized a three- year contract with veteran relief pitcher Randy Choate on Friday.

The deal is reportedly worth $7.5 million.

Choate has been one of the game’s more effective lefty specialists during his 12-year big league career, having held left-handed hitters to a .201 average over that time. The 37-year-old limited southpaws to a mere .158 average over a combined 80 games last season, which he split between the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers.

The journeyman hurler also posted a 3.03 earned run average in 2012 and owns an 11-11 record with a 4.02 ERA over 476 lifetime appearances, all of which have come in relief.

“Randy is very capable of getting tough outs in tough spots against some of the game’s premier left-handed batters,” said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. “He gives us added flexibility during the back half of games working in tandem with “Zep” (Marc Rzepczynski) and the rest of our bullpen staff.”

Choate broke into the majors with the New York Yankees in 2000 and has also pitched for Arizona and Tampa Bay in addition to the Marlins and Dodgers.

The Cardinals had made obtaining a second left-hander to pair with returnee Rzepczynski in the bullpen as one of their top priorities during the Winter Meetings.