As the Major League Baseball trade deadline approaches, the Tigers are looking around for some bullpen help and maybe a corner outfielder. They might want to look to a familiar trade partner: the Miami Marlins. CBS writer, Jon Heyman, suggests that the name of Miami closer Steve Cishek might signal that the Marlins are ready to sell.
When the Tigers made their biggest trade in recent memory, it was the Marlins who sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit for six of the best prospects in the Tigers organization. When the Tigers were looking for a second baseman and a pitcher, it was the Marlins who gave up Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez.
With the benefit of hindsight, both of those trades have worked out extremely well for the Tigers and not so well for Miami. Then again, the Tigers have been willing to pay the salaries of star players to keep them on the roster. Miami has not. There was no way that the Marlins were going to pay Cabrera or Sanchez what was needed to keep them.
The Marlins have had a surprising season in 2014, currently seven games under the .500 mark. However, that is only good enough for fourth place in their division, and eight games out of a wild card playoff spot. Realistically, their chances of making even the one game playoff are very slim.
WHO IS STEVE CISHEK?
Once the Marlins decide they are willing to sell, there are a few players that might interest Detroit. For one, there’s the closer, Steve Cishek, who currently has 21 saves, with an ERA of 3.57 and an FIP of just 2.17. His fWAR of 1.3 ranks 13th among all relief pitchers in the major leagues, well ahead of any pitcher currently in the Tigers’ bullpen. Over the past two seasons, Cishek has 55 saves with a 2.78 ERA and has struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings, while allowing just 0.33 home runs per nine frames.
WHY THIS MAKES SENSE
Cishek earns a salary of just $3.8 million for the 2014 season, and has three more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. That makes him one of the least expensive closers in the game. But as cheap as Cishek may be for a closer, the Marlins are even cheaper. Although there probably isn't a closer on the market with more years of club control remaining, or one earning a lower salary this season, the Marlins don’t like paying players and Cishek’s salary is only going to keep going up.
WHY THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE
What would the Marlins want in return? Prospects. Cheap prospects. A couple of decent relief prospects such as Chad Smith or Pat McCoy might start the conversation. Maybe an infield prospect, such as Hernan Perez or Devon Travis would interest Miami. Exactly what prospects it would take is anyone’s guess. The only reason that the Tigers would not be interested is that the price is just too high.
It may be the case that Miami is okay with paying a player or two whatever they can get in arbitration, but I'd bet the under on that one. Just two members of the Marlins’ current roster earn a higher salary than Cishek. They are catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.