The Chicago Cubs have reportedly added another strong arm to their bullpen this week, as they’ve inked Steve Cishek to a two-year contract.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported the signing, which gives the Cubs another intriguing arm as they look to rebuild a bullpen that faltered in the postseason.
The deal has yet to be confirmed pending a physical.
Working with Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey in Tampa last season, Cishek had a marvelous season, posting a 1.09 ERA in 26 appearances with the Rays. On the year, he had a 2.01 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 44 innings of work, and while that represented a drop in his strikeout rate from past seasons, he picked things back up in Tampa as he struck out more than a batter per inning with the Rays.
Cishek is a tremendous weapon against right-handed hitters, allowing a paltry .148 batting average and a miniscule .194 slugging percentage against hitters from that side of the plate. His unique delivery, a sidearm move with a ton of movement on the ball, helps keep righties off balance, and he used it to full effect with Hickey’s tutelage.
Cishek joins a Cubs bullpen that will have a decidedly different look in 2018, as the team will likely say goodbye to free agent pitcher Wade Davis and has already decided to non-tender Hector Rondon, making him a free agent. Brandon Morrow also signed with the Cubs earlier in the Winter Meetings, giving them a pair of late inning bullpen arms that will likely compete for the closer’s job in spring training.