12 teams – including the Mets – have expressed interest in Steve Cishek

Steve Cishek 1 slice

BaronSteve Cishek was non-tendered by the Cardinals last week, making him a free agent for the first time in his career.

And now that he’s a free agent, Cishek’s services are in high demand, as there are as many as 12 teams to express interest in the right-handed sidearm reliever, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN Radio in Minneapolis.

One of those teams, according to Marc Carig of Newsday, happens to be the Mets as they expand their search for bullpen help this winter.

Cishek would be an interesting high-upside move for the Mets. He struggled in Miami early in the 2015 season, but excelled in St. Louis after being traded, posting a 2.31 ERA and an ERA+ of 174 after being acquired from the Marlins.

2015 Winter MeetingsHowever, Cishek earned $6.6 million in 2015 in his second year of arbitration eligibility, and the Cardinals clearly didn’t see the value in spending more than $7 million on him for 2016.

But any team that signs Cishek would have him under control for two more seasons through arbitration (he was a super-two player in 2014). He has a good history as the Marlins closer despite his deep struggles with them in 2015, and he could be a valuable weapon against right-handed hitters with his career .588 opposing OPS.

Cishek also might be a less expensive option for the Mets to consider as well, although he won’t be cheap in all probability, especially as the relief market grows more and more inflated with multi-year offers and deals being forged.

But Cishek is unique in that he comes with that extra year of control no matter what. And a team like the Mets covet players with years of control. Perhaps they could work out a two-year contract which buys out that expensive fourth year of arbitration at a potential discount.

In this market, a two-year contract worth $10-12 million seems very reasonable for Cishek, who could pitch in a variety of roles for the Mets and possibly spell Jeurys Familia as the club’s closer if necessary.

And if he’s right, he could be one of the great values in the short-relief market this winter.


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