cardinals logoThere was a time when Steve Cishek was quietly among the best closers in the game. It lasted just long enough for him to accumulate a bunch of saves, which, in turn, pumped up his salary in his first two goes at arbitration (he gets four as a Super Two), such that he’s making $6.65 million this year. That’s a lot for a closer on most teams, and especially so on the Marlins. And that’s especially especially so when struggles hit, as they did this year for the 29-year-old righty.

So troubled was Cishek at times this season that he was demoted to the minors to work on some things. After coming back in mid-June, he’s pitched much better (0.71 ERA, 2.27 FIP, 3.49 xFIP, 21.6% K rate, 7.8% BB rate), but something short of the guy he was.

Still, thanks to the above-mentioned financial concerns, the Marlins were eager to unload him, and the Cardinals are supplementing their bullpen:

The Cardinals’ pen has been effective most of the year, but lately has been held together by bubble gum and tape. Jordan Walden and Matt Belisle have been out, Trevor Rosenthal has been heavily used, and questions are developing about how long the rest of the crew can keep it up.

Barraclough appears to be a borderline relief prospect, which is to say that he probably doesn’t have a ton of value. But if the Cardinals are taking on all of Cishek’s remaining salary, that’s most of what the Marlins wanted out of this deal. Keep in mind: even though Cishek has two years of control left, he’s very likely a non-tender candidate after this season.

Nevertheless: the Cardinals improved a little bit today.

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