Right-handed reliever Steve Cishek requested and was granted his release from the Astros on Thursday, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic was among those to report. He had been vying for a role in the Astros’ bullpen after signing a minor league contract during the offseason.
Cishek would have earned a $2.25MM salary had he made the Astros, but that looked increasingly unlikely after the team signed starter Jake Odorizzi to a two-year, $23.5MM deal earlier this month. After all, the Astros are hoping to stay under the $210MM luxury-tax threshold, and adding Cishek to their roster would have made that more difficult to accomplish.
The 34-year-old Cishek had a rough 2020 as a member of the White Sox, with whom he put up a 5.40 ERA/4.47 SIERA over 20 innings, but his track record suggests he’ll catch on with another team soon. Cishek has combined for a 2.78 ERA/3.36 SIERA with decent strikeout and walk percentages (25.2 and 9.2) and a 48.9 grounder mark over 576 innings since he first pitched in the majors in 2010. He gave up three earned runs in 7 2/3 innings and posted 12 strikeouts against two walks this spring.