With just 9 days until the July 31st trade deadline, the rumors over the next few days are only going to intensify. The Miami Marlins look like sellers at this point, sitting 16 games below .500, at 39-55 in mid-July.
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For much of the past month, trade speculation has mostly surrounded two right handers in the Miami Marlins rotation, in Dan Haren and Mat Latos. Both are expected to be dealt before the trade deadline, with Latos the most likely to be moved.
However, that doesn’t mean they’ll be the only pitchers, or players, moved. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the St. Louis Cardinals have shown interest in former Marlins closer Steve Cishek.
Cishek was one of the more dependable closers from 2013-2014. In that span, his 3.4 fWAR ranked 9th among relievers. His 73 saves and 2.35 FIP were both 8th best relievers in that time.
As volatile as relief pitchers are, the Miami Marlins would have been wise to sell high on Cishek either last July or this past offseason. The team instead opted to pay Cishek $6+ million and hope his game did not regress at all.
Unfortunately for the Marlins, it did. Cishek owns a 4.65 ERA and a 3.65 FIP in 31 innings in 2015. For Cishek, he hit his rock bottom on May 31st, when the Miami Marlins demoted him to Double-A Jacksonville.
At that time, Cishek owned a 6.98 ERA and a 4.20 FIP in 19 1/3 innings of work. He was walking nearly 11% of the hitters he faced and striking out just 18.3% of them. He lost his closer role to A.J. Ramos earlier in that month.
Cishek spent two weeks in Double-A, before returning on June 14th. Since his return on that day, he owns a 0.77 ERA and a 2.20 FIP in 11 2/3 innings of work. Cishek is now being used in the 6th and 7th innings instead of the 8th and 9th, with A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps doing a fantastic job of locking down the final two innings.
His resurgence could make him a valuable commodity on the open market. He’s likely to cost less than a Johnathan Papelbon, both in terms of prospects and money. I would not be surprised if the Marlins walked away with a C+/B- prospect for Cishek, perhaps even landing a bigger name prospect if they eat some of the cash owed to him.
The Marlins and Cardinals have hooked up on a deal in the past for a reliever. Back in 2012, the Marlins shipped out Edward Mujica to the Cardinals for former first rounder Zack Cox. Cox is still in the Marlins farm system, but has not panned out for the club.
The Cardinals come into play today with a 59-34 record, leading the National League Central by 5 games. Their bullpen’s FIP ranks 6th (Marlins lead the league), and their fWAR is 5th among MLB teams (Marlins are 4th).
While the Cishek from June on would provide a boost to any major league bullpen, there is the question if the Cards actually need him and if they’d be willing to trade a lot for something that seems to be a team strength.
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