According to multiple reports this morning, the Washington Nationals have dipped back into the free agent market now that there is a new CBA and teams can start signing and trading players again.
The first post-lockout move for the club is a one-year deal with 12-year veteran reliever Steve Cishek.
Cishek, 35, spent the 2021 campaign with the Los Angeles Angels, for whom the submarining right-handed put up a 3.42 ERA, a 3.74 FIP, 41 walks, 64 Ks, and a .238/.352/.316 line against in 74 games and 68 1⁄3 innings pitched.
The rebooting Nationals will be the eighth big league club for Cishek, who signed a 1-year/$1M deal with Houston’s Astros last winter, but was released in March before joining the Angels.
Free-agent reliever Steve Cishek is in agreement with the Nationals on a one-year contract, source tells @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 12, 2022
According to a report by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Cishek will earn, “a little less than $2 million,” on his one-year deal with the Nationals.
Reading the tea leaves from GM Mike Rizzo’s comments from late last year, Washington is likely to be handing out a number of one-year deals this winter as the club continues the reboot they kicked off at last July 30th’s trade deadline, when the Nationals dealt away their expiring contracts (and a year-plus of Trea Turner) for a prospect haul they hope will hasten their return to the top of the NL East (and baseball world).
Rizzo spoke in early October 2021 about what the club’s offseason plans included, and asked if long-term deals with pitchers made sense considering where the club finds itself right now, he suggested that one-year deals similar to the ones they handed out last winter made a lot of sense.
Cishek gets $1.75M plus incentives on Nats deal— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 12, 2022
“I think if you see the right moves that’s going to sustain you through the rebuild and the championship years, I think that makes sense,” Rizzo explained. “I think some really good one-year deals make sense. We implemented that last winter, and we signed a couple of really fine one-year contracts to some players.
“I think we’re going to be open-minded about both of them and I think that this offseason is going to be exciting for us. We’re looking at putting together a roster in a different way this year, so I’m excited about the challenge, and I think the coaching staff is also.”
Is Cishek’s one-year deal the first of many to come from the Nationals this year?