By: Glenn Brewer

Affordable Bullpen Option


The Mets have a few off-season needs this winter.  Among the mix of openings, the bullpen is always a spot to be re-stocked.  Jeurys Familia has done a phenomenal job as the shutdown closer.  Unfortunately things did not go well in the World Series for Familia, but that could be due to the multiple inning appearances throughout the season.  The lack of depth in the bullpen early in the season forced Collins’s hand to use Familia as more than just a ninth inning closer.  Later in the season, the Mets acquired Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed.  Both pitchers were able to fill the 7thand 8th inning duties well into the playoffs.  Clippard is more than likely signing elsewhere to a significant contract.  Reed will have a full season in Queens, but the coaching staff is not convinced he is the answer for the 8th inning. Between Reed and Hansel Robles, the 7th inning will be locked up.  With payroll restrictions, the Mets will be spending carefully as in past years.

The more sought after relief pitchers will max the Mets budget out, but successful relievers can come at the most unsuspecting places.  Recently, the new addition of non-tendered free agents was released.  One intriguing free agent relief pitcher that would fit well in the Mets bullpen is Steve Cishek.  Cishek was non-tendered by the St. Louis Cardinals after performing admirably late in the season after being acquired by the Miami Marlins.  Cishek has had four seasons in the NL East, and a total of five seasons in the NL.  Cishek made $6.65 million last season and was due for a raise in 2016.  This was the main reason the Cardinals non-tendered him this week.  Cishek was paid to be the Marlins closer, but struggled and lost the job.  Cishek lost velocity during the demotion from the closer role.  After picking up with the Cardinals, Cishek seemed to find his velocity and strikeout 20 in 23.1 innings.  In those 23.1 innings, Cishek picked up one save and had a 2.31 ERA.

Cishek would be a good option to mix in for the 8th inning duty.   He has the experience of closing games, and competing in the NL East. Playing in New York would give Cishek a chance to live closer to his family in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Cishek possesses a unique delivery, which can throw off the batter’s eye. Despite a 2-3 mph drop in his pitches, Cishek can still deliver the ball over 90 mph. While Cishek has more success against righty batters, he has developed the ability to strikeout lefties consistently. Cishek’s out pitches have had a better ratio against lefties in his career. His strikeout ratio against lefties is 11.12 per nine innings. In addition, his batted ball percentage is larger to centerfield at 36.5 percent. This would fair well in Citifield and the majority of NL ballparks.

The simple, economic transaction for the bullpen would be to sign Cishek to a 2 year, $4 million dollar deal. This would be a low risk move for the Mets and entice Cishek with some stability on a multi year contract. Cishek would have the opportunity to make himself into a solid set up man for a contending team. If all goes well in two seasons, Cishek would put himself in a position to make top set up reliever money or a chance to close somewhere. Darren O’Day is proof of the potential as a top free agent reliever with some closer experience. More importantly, the Mets bullpen would be deep with young relievers in Robles, Cishek, Reed, and Familia.

About Glenn Brewer

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