Exit Interview: Steve Cishek

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.  Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Steve Cishek

Season stats: 0-0,  1 SV, 2.31 ERA, 27 games, 23.1 IP, 18 H, 2 HR, 13 BB, 20 K, 1.329 WHIP, 4.33 FIP, 0.4 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Goat 3

Overall grade: C+

Positives: Significantly improved his ERA+ while in St. Louis….had a strong August, allowing only a .184 BAA and a .490 OPS against….unsurprisingly, his second-best monthly ERA also came in August (0.82)….allowed a .133 batting average and a .321 OPS against in his four save situations throughout the year….batters leading off an inning hit .224 against him.

Negatives: Both of the home runs he allowed as a Cardinal came in September….did not make the postseason roster, which was notable….batters had an .877 OPS when they put his first pitch in play….was progressively worse (per OPS against) the more outs there were in an inning….batters hit .375 against him with the bases loaded…they also had a 1.136 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs, which is pretty terrible for a reliever.

Overview: We rated Jonathan Broxton a “meh” when we talked about him earlier today and Cishek fits into the same category.  Neither of John Mozeliak’s relief moves at the deadline wound up doing much better than what we’d seen out of Sam Tuivailala or Miguel Socolovich, but there’s no doubt that Mike Matheny seemed more comfortable going to these guys instead of the youngsters.  Cishek turned into the early guy, often appearing in the sixth or seventh.  As the season went along, it seemed like Cishek wound up in lower and lower leverage situations.  That was probably a good thing, since on the year batters had a .944 OPS against him in high-leverage situations and an .853 in mid-range ones, but a .558 when the pressure was off.  I don’t know that was really what Mo was looking for when he made the deal, though it probably was an acceptable outcome.  Interestingly, he only was charged for runs in five of his 27 outings and one of those was unearned.  For some reason, though, he never inspired overwhelming confidence when he came in.

Outlook: Cishek is arbitration eligible this offseason, but he also made $6.65 million, an amount that wouldn’t drop much if the team went to a hearing.  Most likely, Cishek will be non-tendered and while the Cardinals might make a token attempt at bringing him back, it’s more likely someone will grab him up hoping that the improvement that he showed in St. Louis will continue into 2016.

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