Mariners News: Seattle Mariners Sign Free Agent Closer Steve Cishek


The Seattle Mariners have signed free agent right handed closer Steve Cishek to a two year deal pending physical.  He will make a base of $10 million with a potential to earn $17 million with incentives.

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Dipoto doesn’t appear to take a single day off. The roster overhaul continues as he signs side arm closer Steve Cishek (pronounced SEE-sheck) to a two year deal.  The side armed right hander has amassed a 2.82 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in six seasons in the Major Leagues.  He was drafted by the Florida Marlins (Miami Marlins) and pitched for them for six seasons until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Kyle Barraclough around the trade deadline.

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In 2015 he struggled and his story was a tale of two pitchers.  While with the Marlins he achieved a 4.50 ERA and 1.594 WHIP only getting 3 saves a 2.00 strikeout to walk ratio.  Mike Axisa writes that Cishek’s initial 19 1/3 innings were the worst at 6.98 ERA and 1.86 WHIP and cost him his closer’s job and a demotion to double A.  Cishek was able to make some adjustments and returned to the Marlins Major League club and was subsequently traded to the Cardinals.  The Cardinals were able to get better production from Cishek as he achieved a 2.31 ERA and 1.32 WHIP and a 1.54 strikeout to walk ratio over his 27 appearances.  He was arbitration eligible for the next two seasons but the Cardinals did not tender him so he became a free agent.

The Seattle Mariners hope that the 29 year old lanky 6-foot-6 side armed reliever returns to his 2013 and 2014 form.  In 2013 Cishek had 34 saves and only 2 blown saves while getting a 2.33 ERA and a 1.077 WHIP.  His strikeout to walk ratio was 3.36.  The following year the closer had 39 saves and 4 blown saves on his way to a 3.17 ERA and 1.209 WHIP and a 4.00 strikeout to walk ratio.

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Cishek’s primary pitch is the sinker.  He throws it 91 to 94 miles per hour.  His secondary pitch is an 82 to 85 mile per hour slider.  He complements those with a four seam fastball and a changeup.  He tends to use his slider primarily to right handers and his changeup to left handed batters.

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the contract details that are known are two years for $10 million.  A $4 million base salary in 2016 and $6 million in 2017 with $3.5 million in incentives for games finished each year.

Steve Cishek’s funky motion delivery can be an asset to the back end of the Seattle Mariners bullpen.  For years the Mariners have faced opposing relievers with nonstandard deliveries and the change of motion has driven batters crazy.  It appears the Mariners now have one of their own at the back end of the bullpen to compete with Joaquín Benoit and drive opposing batters crazy.