BY SPNW Staff 02:56PM 12/14/2015

Cishek signs, Dipoto says ex-Marlin will close

The Mariners officially signed free agent Steve Cishek to a two-year deal Monday. GM Jerry Dipoto said Cishek will open the 2016 season as the closer.

Meet the new Mariners closer: Steve Cishek

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed Monday that free agent reliever Steve Cishek, officially signed to a two-year deal worth a reported $10 million, plus incentives, will be the team’s closer next season. Cishek said that he inked with Seattle specifically because of the opportunity to take the ball in the ninth inning.

“Steve joins us on a two-year contract and our intention is that he’s our closer,” said Dipoto. “He’s had a couple of 30-save seasons (with the Miami Marlins) and, obviously, he got off to a slow start last year. But he also had a fast finish. I think this is a very positive addition to the back of our bullpen and goes a long way to solidifying it.”

Cishek started the 2015 seasons with the Marlins but struggled with velocity and mechanics. He ultimately lost his closer’s job to A.J. Ramos, and then was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals July 24 for Kyle Barraclough. The Cardinals non-tendered Cishek following the season.

“Going into free agency, I was looking to pitch in the back end of the bullpen,” said Cishek. “My agent told me there were a couple of offers on the table, and I like to be the guy who has all the pressure on him and who finishes games. When Jerry (Dipoto) offered me a closing job, I jumped all over that. Jerry made so many moves to improve the team, and I just wanted to be a part of that. I’m all in.”

Drafted by Marlins in 2007 out of Carson-Newman College in Tennessee, Cishek, 29, made his MLB debut in 2010. He had 15 saves in 2012 and then came back with 34 and 39 saves in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Over parts of six seasons with the Marlins, mostly as a closer, he posted 95 saves with a 2.82 ERA, 9.55 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.42 BB/9.

Last year, Cishek finished with four saves and tickets out of both Miami and St. Louis.

“Ironically. I had the best spring training of my career but for whatever reason I was obsessed with my velocity,” said Cishek. “Once the season started, I wasn’t happy with my mechanics and I overdid it. I had a tough time figuring it out.

I’m ready to turn the page and move on to next year. This is a tremendous opportunity for me. Just to have an opportunity to close games out again is mind-blowing. I’m excited to get this thing started. Plus, I love the stadium (Safeco Field) and the city is just gorgeous.”

“We are one year removed from Steve being one of the top closers in baseball,” added Dipoto. “His level of consistency has been remarkable. It’s reasonable to say 2015 was not up to Steve’s standards. But he seems to have done a nice job of fixing himself.

“You don’t have a lot of opportunities to bring on a closer of Steve’s magnitude. If we can given him the room to run, I think he’s fully healthy and ready to go. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t revert back to what he’s done before. If he hadn’t had that slight dip last year, he’d still be on the Marlins roster and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Dipoto said that the signing of Cishek completes the off-season “heavy lifting.

“We might make a further addition, but with Steve, Joaquin Benoit and Charlie Furbush, we’re looking at what will be the back end of our bullpen.”




  • notaboomer

    don’t you mean diposer?

  • bugzapper

    “With Steve, Joaquin Benoit and Charlie Furbush, we’re looking at what will be the back end of our bullpen.” And other teams will be looking at kicking your back end if this latest reclamation project doesn’t work out.

    • Trygvesture

      yeah, he should stay with the great assemblage of talent Z handed off– the one so well-fitted to Safeco; such adroit and motivated winners, hand picked by old-school gut feelings that resemble nothing relevant to today’s baseball know-how or this park. THAT plan worked exactly as well as Bavasis’.

      • bugzapper

        Oh, come on now. The whole team (with the exception of Felix and Cruz) imploded in 2015, not just the bullpen. OTOH, the 2014 bullpen was lights out, and those were Z’s guys, too. Even a blind squirrel finds a 2014 bullpen once in a while.

        Every new GM cleans house. I’ll be more impressed with Dipoto’s moves when they amount to something. Until then, it’s still just moving deck chairs around on the Titanic.

  • Trygvesture

    Still fun after all these weeks!
    This team has been the slug of the world since Lincoln took charge. Slow, slimey and ugly to anybody hoping for cultivating growth. Dipoto has, for reasons I’d love to understand, been able to make serious, substantive, park-specific, analytically based, long overdue changes to the Mariners. Lots of it has been by methodically discarding the ill-fitted pieces the dumb-as-dirt (and equally ancient in his thinking) Z had in there and replacing them with more-likely, if not perfect, fits for this park. All from one contemporary vision. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it piques interest, discussion and curiosity. How can Lincoln still be in the building?

    It is surprising how many Lincoln-like fans are out there– opposing anything but Lincoln-like, inappropriate, ill-informed and historically proven-to-be-bad kinds of changes: fans that would hate Beane and hate anything from a management team smarter, more risk-friendly and astute than they.
    I’m just lovin it– Mariners on the Move under Dipoto is beyond refreshing. Let it play out with the joy of newness and anticipation. Don’t bitch about it till somewhere around mid June. It can’t possibly be worse than what we’ve had for decades. It can’t. AND– It surely can’t be less fun.

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