Could the St. Louis Cardinals join multiple other teams as being in on Miami Marlins reliever Steve Cishek ahead of the July 31 trade deadline?
Despite the fact that the St. Louis bullpen boasts the second-best earned run average in Major League Baseball, the first-place club has been linked to Cishek for some time now.
Joe Frisaro, who covers the Marlins for MLB.com, posted an update on Thursday, detailing the fact that multiple other teams – including the Minnesota Twins – are monitoring the Miami closer.
So what interest would St. Louis have in the submarine-style right-hander?
However, given the fact that Rosenthal missed some time recently with fatigue, it’s never a bad thing to consider an insurance policy at the back end of the bullpen.
Should Miami decide to sell on Cishek, it would be somewhat of a surprise; not because of where the Marlins find themselves in the National League East, but because they’d be selling low on a guy who could have netted a decent return not so long ago.
In the past two seasons (2013-14), the righty has amassed 73 saves, while posting an impressive 2.72 ERA and 2.35 FIP across some 135 innings of work. He averaged 10.5 strikeouts-per-nine during that span, emerging as one of the most underrated, yet effective, closers in all of baseball.
2015, meanwhile, has been a completely different story for the still-young 29-year-old. Cishek has struggled mightily, pitching to a 1.645 WHIP and 4.65 earned run average for the lowly Marlins, while also seeing his strikeout numbers plummet.
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Cishek is set to his arbitration this offseason and, given his struggles, he should remain very cost effective for whatever team controls his services moving forward. While we know the Cardinals and Twins are interested, there is also at least one other team in the mix, per reports.
A buy-low piece like Cishek could be reasonably attractive to teams like the Chicago Cubs, who have experienced their own shares of bullpen woes this season, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Cardinals will battle their division rivals of the right-hander.
He’s shown the ability to be an effective relief option at the big league level. For a team like St. Louis, who already boasts one of the best bullpens in the league – he’s a nice back-up plan.
If he pans out, the bullpen gets even better. If he continues to struggle, St. Louis has plenty of other young arms ready to handle the load come clutch time in October.