HOUSTON -- The Astros added bullpen depth on Tuesday by signing free-agent right-handed reliever Steve Cishek to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. He will earn $2.25 million if he makes the club, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The club did not confirm the financial terms.
Cishek, 34, has a chance to win a spot in the club out of spring camp. He’s played for six teams in 11 seasons in the Major Leagues, posting a 2.78 ERA in 594 appearances with 132 saves. He spent the 2020 season with the White Sox and had a 5.40 ERA in 20 innings. That came after posting a 2.55 ERA in 150 appearances with the Cubs in 2018-19. He’s also played for the Marlins (2010-15), Cardinals (2015), Mariners (2016-17) and Rays (2017).
Cishek brings the most closing experience of any pitcher on the Astros’ 40-man roster. His 132 saves are nearly twice the total of the rest of the roster, with Joe Smith (30) and Ryan Pressly (18) the only pitchers on the 40-man with more than five saves. Cishek saved 34 games in ’13 for the Marlins and had a career-high 39 saves in ’14.
With so much uncertainty about pitching workloads this year, the signing of Cishek gives the Astros more experienced depth. Pressly, Enoli Paredes, Brooks Raley and Blake Taylor are key returnees to the bullpen from last year’s team, and the club signed Ryne Stanek and Pedro Báez earlier this winter. Smith is back after sitting out the 2020 season.
The Astros chose not to re-sign relievers Roberto Osuna, Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock, each of whom battled injuries for much of last year. Josh James and Austin Pruitt are both coming off surgery and are not expected to be ready for the start of the season.