The Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek and cash from the Mariners for righty Erasmo Ramirez, a major-league source confirmed Friday morning. The deal was first reported by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Jon Morosi.
Tampa Bay has been relentless in its search for bullpen help, with Cishek joining Sergio Romo and Dan Jennings as new additions to the group this month. The Rays have been linked to high-end relievers on the market and still may make a strike for someone like A.J. Ramos, Justin Wilson or Brad Hand.
Cishek, 31, owns a 3.15 ERA, 4.80 FIP and 6.8 K/9 in 20 innings this year for the Mariners. He made his season debut on May 15 after undergoing offseason hip surgery, serving a late-inning role for Seattle in his second season with the club. The ex-Marlin and Cardinal is especially effective against righties, holding them to a .538 OPS this year.
Cishek is earning $6 million this season and is a free agent at the end of the year, joining Romo and first baseman Lucas Duda as rentals taken on by Tampa Bay in the last week. He will join Brad Boxberger and Tommy Hunter as late-inning options in front of closer Alex Colome.
Ramirez, 27, originally broke in to the majors with Seattle, spending three seasons with the club before being traded to the Rays before the 2015 season. This year, the swingman owns a 4.80 ERA and 4.18 FIP in 69.1 innings over 26 appearances, eight of which have come as starts.
Ramirez has the ability to either start or relieve, giving the Mariners a depth option in both the rotation and bullpen. He is under club control through the 2019 season, giving the M’s two years of control after this one.
Both Tampa Bay and Seattle are actively in the mix for a wild card spot, so the trade is unusual in that its between two contenders. Both clubs have been very active on the trade market this summer, with the Rays adding Cishek, Jennings, Romo, Duda and Adeiny Hechavarria and the Mariners adding Ramirez, David Phelps and Marco Gonzales.