The Astros have signed veteran reliever Steve Cishek to a minor league contract, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The right-hander’s deal includes an invitation to major league camp. He’ll earn a $2.25MM salary with incentives if he makes the Astros’ roster, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The incentives could reach $1.5MM, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Cishek, 34, has taken a big league mound for six teams and generally been quite successful since he began with the Marlins in 2010. Although he has only averaged about 91 mph on his fastball, the former closer has 132 saves to his name and has registered a stingy 2.78 ERA/3.36 SIERA with an above-average 25.2 percent strikeout rate across 576 innings. Cishek has also been a durable late-game option, having piled up 54 or more innings on eight occasions.
While Cishek was effective as recently as 2019 with the Cubs, his production dropped off with the crosstown rival White Sox a season ago, which is why he didn’t get a guaranteed contract this winter. Cishek, whom the White Sox signed to a $6MM deal, mustered a disappointing 5.40 ERA/4.47 SIERA in 20 frames with the club. And though Cishek has usually induced grounders at a solid rate (48.9 percent), he posted a career-worst 32.2 in that department and also put up slightly below-average strikeout and walk percentages of 22.6 and 9.7, respectively.