If there’s one team that could say they’ve owned the offseason, it’s the Chicago White Sox. And the team from the South Side has added yet another impact player, as they signed veteran reliever Steve Cishek.
White Sox Sign Steve Cishek
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The White Sox have already made some major splashes this offseason, as they’ve added Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel and Edwin Encarncion over the past few weeks. The Sox have also locked up top prospect Luis Robert for six seasons, and now they add another piece to their team. Steve Cishek, who’s spent the past two seasons with the Cubs, now heads to the South Side
Reliever Steve Cishek and the Chicago White Sox are in agreement on a one-year, $6 million deal, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN. The contract includes an option that could take the deal to a second year at $12 million total.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 7, 2020
On a one-year deal, the Sox can’t go wrong in bringing in a reliever like Cishek. When looking at Cishek’s numbers from 2019, one thing that stood out was his ability to limit hard hit balls. Cishek’s sinker-slider combo can be devastating to opposing hitters at times, particularly his breaking ball. Batters hit just .200 off the slider, and it was quite a tough pitch to beat, especially when Cishek commanded the pitch down and away to the left side of the plate last season. And it showed with the exit velocity numbers, as those numbers on the slider were well above the MLB average.
However, there’s the good and bad when it comes to Cishek. The veteran righty can get hitters to chase, but when batters aren’t biting, that can create a problem. Cishek had a 10.9% BB (4.1 BB/9) rate in 2019, over two points more than the MLB average. To add to that, Cishek also sported a career-high 4.54 FIP last season. So while he does limit hard hit balls, there is the ugly side that needs to be taken into account with Cishek.
Still, this move does make quite a bit of sense for the White Sox. Guaranteed Rate Field was fifth in the Majors last season in home run frequency, so adding Cishek should help in preventing the long ball and inducing grounders (Cishek had a 50% GB% rate in 2019 according to Fangraphs). The righty also has experience in the closer role, so he could be a fallback option for the White Sox should Alexander Colome have issues this season.
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