New Cub Steve Cishek was pitching like a mediocre reliever with the Seattle Mariners before he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays in late July. Upon moving to Florida, the awkward-throwing righty took off and never looked back.
Tampa Bay did what Tampa Bay always does: Find under-the-radar pitchers and maximize every single pitch they have. With Seattle, Cishek’s monthly FIP was 5.93 (May), 3.78 (June), and 4.22 (July). But when Jim Hickey became got ahold of him, the sidewinder’s FIP dropped to 2.43 in August and 2.02 in September.
Brandon Morrow is considered the leading candidate for the Cubs closing job going into spring training, with Theo Epstein publicly acknowledging as much. But if Cishek can continue to get batters out at the same pace he did in Tampa, he is a solid Plan B.