Miami has made it clear it is looking to extend several of its young players this offseason, however Steve Cishek was not included when President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill discussed long-term plans. According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Cishek has asked the Marlins for a multiyear extension, but the organization would prefer to evaluate Cishek and his contract situation on a year-to-year basis.
The representative for arbitration-eligible Marlins closer Steve Cishek (39 for 43 in saves in 2014) broached the idea of multiyear deal, but the Marlins prefer to go year-to-year with him. He’s a free agent after 2017.
Cishek, 28, has established himself as a reliable back of the bullpen arm. In 65.1 innings pitched last season, he posted a 3.17 ERA and 2.17 FIP. He was more efficient against left-handed hitters, and was able to close 39 games, five more than he saved in 2013.
Although the Marlins are open to extending several members of a young core, there is only one pitcher in the group: Jose Fernandez. Fernandez is expected to return from Tommy John surgery this summer, and the Marlins rightfully recognize he is one of the best pitchers in the game and should be valued as such. However, Scott Boras likes to allow his players to test the market, making extension talks challenging. Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Adeiny Hechavarria, all hitters, have all also been mentioned.
Miami takes a different approach with regard to extending its pitchers because of the possibility of injury. Cishek has a side-arm delivery, but the Marlins do not want to take a chance in the event that he were to get hurt.
Both last July and this offseason, several teams have inquired about Cishek's availabilty. He made $3.8 million a season ago and is due for a notable raise, however the Marlins do not appear to mind. Since Heath Bell struggled late in games, Cishek has proven he can be consistent. While he is not the stereotypical closer, Cishek appears to be a leader and understands when he does not have his best command, not getting visibly frustrated when he is removed from games.
The market for experienced closers is thin, and giving Cishek the multiyear deal he wants would likely payoff. Miami is expected to improve moving forward, and consistency at the back end of the bullpen should prove to help the pitching staff and lineup in the future.