Funky fresh delivery: Cishek’s unorthodox pitching motion will help provide a contrast to the straight overhand fire spewed by much of the White Sox bullpen. (@MarinersPR)
The recent run on relievers signing around MLB was starting to look like the few remaining options in a heated game of musical chairs, but Rick Hahn was able to grab one with time to spare, and it’s a pretty decent option to boot, as former Cub Steve Cishek has signed a one year, $6 million contract to pitch for the White Sox in 2020. This contract has an option for 2021 for another $6 million, with the conditions surrounding that option still to be announced.
Considering that relievers like Will Harris and Daniel Hudson both signed for significantly higher amounts and yearly commitments, Cishek looks to be a perfect middle ground solution that will not hamper the Sox budget to potentially improve and add talent midseason.
Entering his 11th season, Cishek has lived the nomadic life of a hired reliever for whichever employer is willing to take on his services. A 6´6´´, 215-pound right-handed sidewinder, Cishek pitched the previous two seasons for the Chicago Cubs, providing a consistent option out of their bullpen. In 2019, his numbers dipped slightly (though not outright terribly) to a 2.95 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He does have peripherals that are very pleasing to the analytical eye, with an average exit velocity of 84.5 mph and a hard-hit rate of 25.9% per Baseball Savant. And the wOBA on Cishek’s fastball was a miniscule .138, so even when he throws it straight, his funky delivery clearly has a significant effect on the batter’s ability to square it up.
I would expect to see Cishek serve as one of the veteran bridges to Alex Colomé, but if the man with the tilted hat falters, Cishek has closing in his background, notching seven saves last season and 132 in his career.
Let’s welcome Steve to the South Side, and breathe a little easier that the bullpen heading into 2020 is just a bit more secure!