Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto today announced that the Mariners have signed right-handed pitcher Steve Cishek (SEE-shek) to a two-year contract.
"Steve gives us a proven bullpen presence with significant experience closing games," said Dipoto. He's a character guy who adds a new angle and fresh look to our pen."
Cishek, 29, split last season with the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals where he combined to go 2-6 with a 3.58 ERA (22 ER, 55.1 IP) with 48 strikeouts in 59 relief appearances. Over his final 40 relief appearances, he posted a 1.75 ERA (7 ER, 36.0 IP) with 31 strikeouts. In his final 27 appearances of the season following a trade to the Cardinals, he posted a 2.31 ERA (6 ER, 23.1 IP) with 20 strikeouts.
Over the last five seasons (since 2011), his 2.86 ERA (98 ER, 308.2 IP) in 308 games is the 10th-best by a reliever in the National League. The right-hander posted consecutive 30-save seasons in 2013 (34) and 2014 (39) and his 73 saves over that two-year span ranked 4th in the National League and 8th in the Majors.
In parts of six seasons in the Majors, he is 17-20 with 95 saves and a 2.82 ERA (98 ER, 313.0 IP) in 311 games with Miami (2010-15) and St. Louis (2015). Cishek was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 5th round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN.
To make room on the Major League, 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Rob Rassmussen was designated for assignment. Seattle now has 10 days to trade, release or outright Rasmussen's contract to the minors.
Rasmussen, 26, was acquired by Seattle from Toronto on July 31, 2015, as part of a four-player deal. He was 2-1 with a 10.67 ERA (14.1 IP, 17 ER) in 19 games with the Mariners last season. He also appeared in 1 game in 2015 with the Jays (1.0 IP, 1 SO). In parts of two MLB seasons (2014-15), he has a career mark of 2-1, 7.09 (26.2 IP, 21 ER) in 30 games.
With today's transactions, the Mariners 40-man roster remains at 40.