Cishek Avoids Arbitration Signs With Miami Marlins

East Falmouth's Steve Cishek had a standout season as the Miami Marlins closer. The right-hander set a team record for consecutive saves.COURTESY MIAMI MARLINS - East Falmouth's Steve Cishek had a standout season as the Miami Marlins closer. The right-hander set a team record for consecutive saves.

You hear athletes say all the time that landing a big money contract won’t change them. When Steve Cishek says it, it is pretty believable.

The Falmouth native signed the largest contract of his professional career on Friday afternoon, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing with the Miami Marlins. The Marlins inked Cishek to a one-year guaranteed contract worth $3.8 million. He will once again be eligible for salary arbitration at this time next year.

The former Falmouth Clipper said that the contract offered to him by Miami exceeded the expectations that he and his agent had heading into the arbitration hearing, which they were prepared to have to face. Had the two sides not come to an agreement before the 1 PM deadline on Friday, an arbitration panel would have decided upon the salary figure for the Marlins’ closer in February. Miami also came to terms with its two other arbitration eligible players, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Dunn. Stanton signed a one-year deal worth $6.5 million and Dunn signed for $1.4 million.

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Cishek, who made $505,000 last year with the club, was Miami’s best relief pitcher and one of its breakout stars during an otherwise disappointing 2013 season. While the Marlins were finishing last in their division, and with the second worst record in Major League Baseball, Cishek was excelling at his job. He finished the year having converted 34 of 36 save opportunities, including a streak of 29 in a row to finish the year, a franchise record. The 27-year old side-arm throwing pitcher finished with a 2.33 earned run average over 69 appearances. After the All-Star break his ERA was 0.96.

Becoming an instant multimillionaire certainly was a highlight of the weekend for Cishek, but he said that he and his wife Marissa do not foresee any great changes in their lifestyle. They bought a townhouse in Florida last year and are not planning a great splurges.

“I don’t know, maybe we’ll buy the name brand instead of the Walmart brand now,” he joked. “We’re both really content with what we have. We’re already very blessed and have everything that we need. I’ve got a man cave, and a beautiful wife. What else do I really need?”

“I don’t feel any different. She doesn’t feel any different,” he continued. “There’s more money that we can bless our church with. Like I said, we already have everything that we need.”
He said that he didn’t really enjoy having to go through the motions of the contract negotiations with Miami, but said that it comes with the job. “We weren’t really looking for a long-term deal, we were just trying to get the best deal possible,” he said. “I’m really content with how it all worked out. I just like playing baseball and I put the rest of it in God’s hands.”

While Cishek is now in a higher tax bracket, he is not the only winner. If the Marlins choose to, they can easily trade him to another club looking to shore up its bullpen for a pennant chase later in the year if they decide to shake things up.

Cishek said he knows that being traded is always a possibility, but it’s the furthest thing from his mind right now. He’s just looking forward to reporting for spring training on February 16 in Jupiter, Florida, and trying to have another strong season. 

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