Miami Marlins: Re-Evaluating the Steve Cishek Trade


In 2015, another trade deadline passed, and more ‘cheap’ moves came from the Marlins. The criticism of Jeffrey Loria increased and fans spoke of Miami’s vicious, and seemingly endless cycle of losing.

The first chip dealt by the Marlins was Steve Cishek. The longtime Marlin departed to St. Louis in exchange for Double-A reliever Kyle Barraclough. 

The immediate reaction was negative from Miami’s side. Barraclough hadn’t proven himself whatsoever in Double-A. Fangraphs writer Kiley McDaniel ranked all 58 prospects dealt before the deadline, placing Barraclough 57th. Such perception has changed since the deadline.

Looking back at it, Miami’s move acquire Barraclough was a great one. They may miss Cishek’s clubhouse presence, but the Fish definitely don’t long for his negative WAR in 2015.

Steve Cishek kicked off his Cardinals tenure in impressive fashion, finishing August with 11 IP, a 0.82 ERA, and a .184 opposing AVG. However, his success hasn’t carried into September, surrendering four earned runs in just 4.2 innings pitched.

Kyle Barraclough, on the other hand, has established his value for the Fish. The 25-year-old righty holds a 0.6 WAR for the Marlins (Baseball Reference), ranking just behind A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps for the most valuable relievers.

Barraclough has accomplished this feat in just 21.2 innings this season. In those innings, he’s posted a 2-1 record with a 1.66 ERA, 3.38 FIP, and 28 strikeouts.

Ok, he hasn’t necessarily proven his legitimacy just yet, that obviously comes with time. But I’ll stand by my point, this trade will benefit the Marlins in the future.

In Kyle Barraclough’s 21 appearances for Miami, he’s allowed two or more runs in just one of them. To counter that, Cishek has allowed two or more runs in two of his last five outings.

It has been noted that Miami will look for starting pitchers this coming offseason. From Barry Jackson:

"Our ace beat writer Clark Spencer and I have both heard that the Marlins will make pitching their offseason priority and plan to add two starting pitchers, according to team sources. But as always, finances will provide challenges."

That being said, it can be safe to assume the excess starters can be used in middle relief roles (Adam Conley, Justin Nicolino). And with A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps likely securing the eighth and ninth innings, Barraclough could slot into the seventh inning spot, solidifying a strong back end of the ‘pen.

And one could argue that Steve Cishek may also fit in a seventh inning role, but his disappointing season with the Marlins can speak otherwise. Remember, Cishek lost his closer role to Ramos, then failed to redeem himself in middle relief.

Maybe Kyle Barraclough fits the Marlins’ bullpen better than Cishek does, or maybe he’s simply better than Cishek. Either way, Barraclough has proven that in 2015, he’s much more worthy of a roster spot than Steve Cishek.

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