Steve Cishek will be staying in Chicago; he's just moving a little south.
The 33-year-old Falmouth native signed a one-year contract, with a second-year club option, with the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, January 7. After playing for the Cubs the past two seasons, the sidearmer said that he and his family are excited to be staying in a city that they've enjoyed thoroughly.
“It's great, we really love Chicago,” he said from his home in Florida. “We've gotten really comfortable there. It's good for our family.”
Cishek will earn a guaranteed $5.25 million for the 2020 season. The White Sox hold a club option for the 2021 season at $6.75 million, with a $750,000 buyout clause. He is scheduled to take his team physical and finalize the deal on Thursday, January 9. While there he and his wife, Marissa, planned on finding a place to live for the season. The couple have two daughters, 5-year-old Emmie and 3-year-old Avery.
Last season with the Cubs was another solid campaign for the Cape Codder, who pitched 64 innings over 70 appearances. He posted a 4-6 record out of the Cubs bullpen with seven saves, a 2.95 earned run average and 1.20 WHIP. Over the reliever's career he has pitched 556 innings in 572 appearances with a 32-37 record, 132 saves, 2.69 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
Cishek, who was in town for the holidays and to host his annual Wiffle Ball tournament at Falmouth High School, said that the White Sox showed interest from day one. His agent was contacted by the club as soon as the World Series concluded and the team has been aggressive during the offseason to bulk up their chances at contending in the AL Central.
“I really like what they've been doing. They want to win, which is good for me because so do I,” he said.
The nine-year Major League veteran will be playing for his sixth franchise in the big leagues. He began his career in Miami before being dealt to St. Louis. He then signed with Seattle before being traded to Tampa. The past two seasons he wore a Cubs uniform, and now he's moving to the south side of Chicago to pitch for the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, formerly known as Comiskey Park.
While in town for the Wiffle Ball tournament, Cishek joked about being “unemployed” while addressing the players on hand for the charity event. He said that going through the free agency process was part of the business, and that he's looking forward to suiting up for a new team.
“It's part of the whole experience and it's kind of a big adventure for us,” Cishek said.
That adventure will include an early season trip back home to Massachusetts as the Boston Red Sox host the White Sox for their home opener this year on Thursday, April 2. That starts a three-game series in Boston with the White Sox in town on April 4 and 5 as well. That will be the only appearance that the White Sox make at Fenway Park this year.
Cishek said that pitchers and catchers report to the White Sox training facility in Glendale, Arizona, the second week of February. They open their season on March 26 at home against the Kansas City Royals.