The Astros have released reliever Steve Cishek after the veteran reliever requested to be cut loose by the club on Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan.
Cishek, 34, originally signed a minor-league deal with Houston last month and had until this week to opt out of his contract if he wasn’t going to be added to the Astros’ 40-man roster.
Per Kaplan, the Falmouth, Mass. native was going to make $2.25 million if he made the Astros’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, which is a price the club wasn’t willing to pay given how close they are to the $210 million luxury tax threshold.
Coming off a 2020 campaign with the White Sox in which he struggled to the tune of a 5.40 ERA and 5.64 FIP over 22 relief appearances and 20 innings of work before being released in late September, Cishek had been looking better this spring.
Through his first seven outings with the Astros, the 6-foot-5, 215 pounder yielded three earned runs — all of which came on home runs — on seven hits and two walks to go along with 12 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings pitched in Grapefruit League play.
Known for his sidearm delivery, Cishek has racked up 132 total saves over the course of an 11-year big-league career between the Marlins, Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Cubs, and White Sox. He was originally selected by Miami in the fifth round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Carson-Newman University in Jefferson, Tenn.
Because of his local connections, Cishek always seemed like someone who would pitch for the Red Sox at some point before calling it a career.
MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweeted earlier Thursday that he would “expect the Red Sox to be involved with some relievers who are opting out of deals this week.”
Boston has their own bullpen competition going on at the moment between the likes of Austin Brice, Phillips Valdez, Colten Brewer, and Kevin McCarthy, but it would not be too surprising to see Chaim Bloom and Co. bring in a more established reliever based off the names that have been made available these past few days.
Bloom does after all have a history with Cishek going back to when the Rays acquired the righy reliever from the Mariners in a July 2017 trade.
(Picture of Steve Cishek: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)