With the Miami Marlins set to become sellers at the July 31st trade deadline, the team has made a bunch of players that don’t figure into their 2016 plans available for trade.
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The list also includes players that are still under team control, but are unlikely to be back with the team next season due to arbitration raises, including former closer Steve Cishek.
Cishek is not enjoying the strongest of seasons, posting a 5.14 ERA and a 3.61 FIP in 28 innings of work. Cishek was removed from the closers role in early May and even was demoted to Double-A at the end of the month to work on his mechanics.
However, even with all those struggles, Steve Cishek is drawing interest on the trade market, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
"4. Steve Cishek, RHP, Marlins — The Falmouth native had been sent to Double A to work out a mechanical issue, which he did, according to manager Dan Jennings, even though he didn’t have a good outing against Boston last week. Yet Cishek, who has been a successful closer, is drawing interest. The Twins, Tigers, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and others have been watching Cishek of late."
The interest in Cishek should actually not be surprising, as Cishek has a track record of success as the Marlins closer.
Between 2013 and 2014, Cishek was tied with the 8th best fWAR among relievers. His 2.35 FIP and 73 saves over that span were also the 8th best among relievers.
What was wrong mechanically for Cishek when he went down to Double-A? This is what he told David Laurila of Fangraphs.
"“When the season started, my arm slot was a little low and my velocity was down,” explained Cishek. “I tried a little too hard to bring my velocity back up and started yanking everything. I was flying open and the ball was just taking off on me.“If I’m throwing from too low, my sinker doesn’t sink. It’s flat. If I’m able to move my hand up an inch or two, I’m able to get the diving action I’ve had in the past, with a little more thump behind the ball.”"
Since his return, as I pointed out the other day, Cishek has been a better pitcher since his return from his minor league stint:
"On June 1st when the team optioned Cishek to Double-A Jacksonville, Cishek owned 6.98 ERA and a 4.22 FIP in 19 1/3 innings of work. He had struck out just 18.3% of the hitters he faced and walked 10.8%. Cishek, like Latos, suffered from a dip in his velocity.Since his return from Double-A on June 14th, Cishek owns a 1.04 ERA and a 2.27 FIP in 8 2/3 innings of work. He has struck out 21.1% of the hitters he’s faced and walked just 7.9%. While the strikeouts are well below his 30% mark last season and his career 25% mark, they are a remarkable improvement over earlier in the season."
So while many were skeptical if Cishek was actually sent to the minors to work on his mechanics, it seems as if that truly was the case. And the results have been much better upon his return.
Combine that with the success he’s had since his return from the minors, there are likely teams that would love to buy-low on Cishek and hope he can make a further leap to his pitching levels of the past couple of seasons.
With Cishek also being due arbitration for two more seasons, he is someone who a team can control for multiple seasons, especially if he continues to bounce back and pitches well the rest of the season.
The Twins, Blue Jays, and Red Sox all have farm systems that should intrigue the Miami Marlins and are teams that Cafardo links to Cishek.
Last July or this past-offseason should have been the best time for the Miami Marlins to part ways with their once excellent closer. Instead the Marlins decided to hang on to him and now could pay the price, in terms of a trade return, on the decision.
However, that does not mean Cishek does not hold trade value. Just not the same value he held a season ago at this time. If the Marlins agree to eat a portion of Cishek’s remaining salary, that would be a boost to his trade value.
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