If the Red Sox are keen on adding bullpen help once the Major League Baseball lockout comes to an end, one reliever they could target is Massachusetts native Steve Cishek.
Cishek, 35, was born and raised in Falmouth, Mass. and grew up a fan of the Red Sox. He also makes hid off-season home on Cape Cod.
The experienced right-hander is a veteran of 12 big-league seasons between seven different teams, most recently spending the 2021 campaign with the Angels.
After originally signing a minor-league deal with the Astros in February, Cishek was cut loose by Houston in late March and quickly latched on with Los Angeles on a one-year major-league contract shortly before Opening Day.
Across 74 appearances for the Halos, Cishek posted a 3.42 ERA and 3.74 FIP to go along with 64 strikeouts to 41 walks over 68 1/3 innings of work. The Falmouth High School product was also exceptional when it came to limiting hard contact, as his 32.7% hard-hit rate against ranked in the top 10% of the league, per Baseball Savant.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Cishek is a sidearmer who works with a four-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball, and changeup. He held opponents to expected batting averages of .176 and .153 with his slider and four-seamer this past season.
While Cishek has yet to suit up for his hometown Red Sox to this point in time, there certainly have been plenty of connections between the two sides over the years.
In December 2019, The Athletic’s Peter Gammons reported that Cishek, then a free agent, “would like to sign with Boston,” but payroll issues prevented that from happening and he ultimately wound up inking a one-year pact with the White Sox.
In March 2021, after it was revealed that Cishek would be signing with the Angels, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo relayed that the Sox had been interested in the righty, but only on a minor-league deal.
Not only are Cishek’s ties to the Red Sox are local — they also go beyond that considering chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was a prominent member of the Rays’ front office when Tampa Bay acquired Cishek in a July 2017 trade with the Mariners.
With that being said, Cishek (who turns 36 in June) could provide Boston with a relatively inexpensive addition to the bullpen. He pitched primarily in the sixth through eighth innings of games while earning $1 million this year, but does come with plenty of closing experience as evidenced by his 132 career saves in the majors.
At present, the Sox have about nine relievers on their 40-man roster who come with at least some big-league experience under their belts. In adding a veteran like Cishek, Boston would gain additional relief depth. It’s as simple as that.
(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Tim Warner/Getty Images)