According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a deal with right-handed reliever Steve Cishek on a two year deal. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the deal is worth $10 million with incentives if he remains the team’s closer.
Cishek, 29, will join his third team in six big league seasons. He started his career with the Marlins, and then was shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals this July. Cishek had 94 career saves during his tenure with the Marlins but only one as a member of the Cardinals. The Cardinals traded for Cishek to be their setup man behind All-Star closer Trevor Rosenthal. According to Crasnick, Cishek was signed to be the Mariner’s closer. He has a career 2.82 ERA with 332 strikeouts in 313 innings pitched.
Jerry Dipoto has been very active this winter and is continuing to make moves for a Mariners team that finished last in the American League West. Cishek should definitely improve a Mariners bullpen that had a team ERA of 4.15 in 2015. The Mariners also did not have a definitive closer last year with Tom Wilhelmsen and Carson Smith each having 13 saves last year. Fernando Rodney had 16 saves but was traded to the Chicago Cubs in August. Bringing in Cishek will be able to solidify the bullpen.
This winter, the Mariners traded for Joaquin Benoit who will most likely slide in now as the eighth inning pitcher. Wilhelmsen was traded to the Texas Rangers for outfielder Leonys Martin. Carson Smith was part of a deal that brought Wade Miley to Seattle. The Mariners under achieved in 2015 and now with Jerry Dipoto running the show, are a team that should compete for a postseason spot.