This continues a developing series that looks at possible bullpen trade targets for the Atlanta Braves as we are looking toward the trade deadline.
Whatever the Atlanta Braves have in mind for trying to augment their team in 2021 needs to be done by 4 pm Eastern time on Friday, July 30th.
This is a day earlier than usual as MLB likely did not wish to disrupt games in progress on the 31st — a Saturday with games scattered throughout the afternoon and evening.
So we’re now roughly 4½ weeks away from that date and the Braves said to be “aggressive” in looking for bullpen help.
One possible candidate that comes with a unique combination of having some extra team control (through 2023) and budget-friendly salary is the Tigers’ Jose Cisnero.
He’s a 32-year-old Dominican-born right-hander who has been in and out of the majors since 2013, originally breaking in with Houston.
Despite his age, the 6-3/258 Cisnero is still arbitration-eligible and under team control through next season (depending on the results of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement).
It’s only been in the last two seasons, though — this one and 2020 — that Cisnero seems to have gotten “it” with his pitching.
His WHIP rate has dropped significantly to the 1.1/1.2 range and his ERA has dropped accordingly.
This year, he’s posted 34 innings in 36 games, striking out 42 batters and even saving 3 for the Tigers.
Cisnero has walked 12 batters, which is edging toward the high side, but of relievers with at least 20 innings pitched, that walk rate would still rank 3rd best on the Braves.
The reason the Atlanta Braves might be interested in Cisnero
Of note, Cisnero’s work has improved as this season has progressed:
- First 16 appearances: 14 runs allowed (punctuated by a 4 run outburst vs. KC on May 11)
- All appearances since (22): 4 runs allowed.
That work dropped his ERA from a high of 6.43 to 2.91 in the space of 6½ weeks.
Since that May 11 outing, his walks have dropped (5), and hits against have plummeted (10 of 29 overall).
Those 36 appearances point to a durability factor that the Braves also need: it ties him for 6th in the majors for number of games pitched.
Cisnero isn’t necessarily going to be the best bullpen option that the Braves might choose to pick up. But he could be a very nice complementary piece as a second arm if there’s a chance to acquire a couple of relievers next month.
If the competition for the “best” options turns out to be too fierce… he and another similar reliever could still be just what this team needs: stability and consistency.