BY SPNW Staff 04:44PM 12/12/2015

Mariners find closer in free agent Steve Cishek

If the Mariners didn’t have a closer already in Joaquin Benoit, acquired Nov. 12, they have one as of Saturday morning, when they signed free agent reliever Steve Cishek to a two-year deal worth a base salary of $10 million, plus incentives. The agreement was first reported by and not yet announced by the club.

Cishek, 29, was non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom he pitched 23 innings after a July 24 trade from the Miami Marlins, who drafted him in 2007 from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee. He was considered one of the best closers in the National League in 2013-14.

Over parts of six seasons with the Marlins, mostly as a closer when he had 95 saves, Cishek had  2.82 ERA, 9.55 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.42 BB/9.

A bad start in 2015 caused him to lose the closer’s job — 32 IP, 4.50 ERA, 7.88 K/9, 3.94 BB/9 — to A.J. Ramos. In 32 innings, Cishek struggled with his fastball, at a career-low 90.6 mph.

He improved during his time in St. Louis as he finished a deal at $6.6 million. If he regains his earlier form, as general manager Jerry Dipoto must be presuming, he’ll likely close after Benoit pitches the eighth.

Dipoto has completed nine trades, eight signings, and five waiver claims, including two deals that sent away players just acquired, since taking over for the fired Jack Zduriencik.




  • Trygvesture

    Wow– a current-era GM with license to deal! It’s nearly incomprehensible that it could happen under this ownership. What in the world happened down there at the Safeco Palace of Lincoln? Has he been pushed aside? How? By whom? This is such a break from past behavior, attitude and strong-armed, ill-informed control that one has to believe there has been a seismic shift that somehow didn’t swamp the Clownship. Is Dipoto just dealing too fast for the old guy to keep up — and veto? It’s glorious– but has to flummox long time observers.

    • Kirkland

      Dipoto probably bet John Schneider a steak dinner that he could more thoroughly remake the M’s roster in his first year than Schneider could the Hawks.

      In all seriousness, this gives the Mariners two proven options as a closer. If Cishek slumps, Benoit can step in to right the ship, similar to hockey goalies. It’ll be calmer than throwing in a warm body and praying when the Rodney Rollercoaster took a dip.

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