Boston Red Sox: Intriguing Non-Tender Targets

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Sep 28, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Steve Cishek (28) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Cishek, RP

Despite being one of the best relief pitchers in baseball before last season, Steve Cishek was not tendered a contract by the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

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From 2011-2014 Cishek was an elite set-up man turned closer for the Miami Marlins, posting a 2.70 ERA with 10 strikeouts per nine innings over that span. He was the Marlins’ full-time closer in 2013 and 2014, finishing with 34 and 39 saves respectively on poor teams.

Cishek struggled at the beginning of last year, before the Marlins traded him to the Cardinals near the deadline. He pitched pretty well in middle relief for the Cardinals for an overall solid 2015 season. Cishek was not as dominant as before, but it’s not like he was terrible.

The Red Sox bullpen is greatly improved with the addition of Kimbrel, but there is still room for improvement in middle relief. The side-arm tossing Cishek would be a potentially valuable addition to the Red Sox bullpen. He would certainly bring value to the pen in middle relief, and is another former closer who could step up and take the role in case of injury.

Obviously it depends on the price, but I cannot imagine Cishek demanding too much on the open market. He is among the free agent relievers who the Red Sox should be considering.

Next: Pitchers With Obvious Flaws, but Plenty of Upside