The White Sox have released right-hander Steve Cishek, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Both Cishek and left-hander Ross Detwiler were designated for assignment earlier this week, and Detwiler is also on the move, as the southpaw has elected to become a free agent.
After pitching for the Cubs in 2018-19, Cishek moved to the south side of Chicago after signing a one-year free agent deal with the White Sox last winter. Cishek earned $5.25MM in guaranteed salary, and he will get $750K as a buyout of the $6.75MM club option on his services for the 2021 season.
For that $6MM investment, the White Sox received a 5.40 ERA, 2.33 K/BB rate, and 9.5 K/9 over 20 innings from Cishek. As noted by MLBTR’s Steve Adams last Thursday, much of the damage done to Cishek’s ERA came early in the season — Cishek allowed seven runs over his first 5 2/3 innings of work (in seven games) before settling down to allow five runs over his next 14 1/3 innings (15 appearances). That said, Cishek also had the highest HR/9 and the lowest ground-ball rate of his 11 MLB seasons, albeit in the small sample size of the abbreviated 2020 campaign.
While Cishek had a tough start and a solid finish to his season, Detwiler was the opposite story. The lefty didn’t allow a run until his 10th appearance of the season, and had a sterling 1.47 ERA over his first 18 1/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately for Detwiler, a disastrous final outing more than doubled his runs allowed total for the entire season, though his final numbers (3.20 ERA, 3.00 K/BB rate, 6.9 K/9 in 19 2/3 IP) are more than respectable.
With 23 combined Major League seasons on their resumes, Cishek and Detwiler offer a lot of experience for teams looking for veteran bullpen depth this offseason. The two veterans, however, will face a lot of competition for jobs amidst a deep field of free agent relievers that will only grow longer once more teams begin their offseason roster maintenance.