Cardinals acquire reliever Steve Cishek from Marlins

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Cardinals have traded for Marlins right-hander Steve Cishek, who’s been working as a setup man after being demoted from the closer role.

As a side-armer with modest velocity Cishek is far from a prototypical closer, but he did a fine job in the role with 34 saves in 2013 and 39 saves last season. However, when he struggled early on this year the Marlins sent him to the minors and then brought him back up as a setup man.

Since rejoining the bullpen in mid-June he’s thrown 12.2 innings with a 0.71 ERA and 11/4 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .239 batting average, so Cishek should be a nice fit working the seventh or eighth inning in front of All-Star closer Trevor Rosenthal in St. Louis. He has a 2.86 ERA and 312 strikeouts in 290 innings, allowing a total of just 12 homers.

In exchange for Cishek the Marlins get Double-A reliever Kyle Barraclough, a 2012 seventh-round draft pick with good strikeout rates and very bad control. St. Louis takes on the $3 million or so remaining on Cishek’s contract for this season and he’s also under team control via arbitration for 2016, although the high salary makes him a non-tender candidate.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.