Spring Training is approaching fast and the Baltimore Orioles still need to figure out a way to upgrade their rotation.
Dan Duquette seems firm on not losing the team’s first-round pick, meaning Yovani Gallardo can basically be ruled out.
Now, the Orioles have turned their attention to the trade market and reports are that the team is interested in the Padres’ Andrew Cashner. The 29-year-old had a down season last year, with a 4.34 ERA, but had a 3.09 ERA in 2013 and 2.55 ERA in 2014.
So will Andrew Cashner fit in Baltimore?
The first thing to look at is what type of compensation San Diego will want for its pitcher. Cashner will be a free agent after this season, so Baltimore shouldn’t have to give up too much since control isn’t an issue. Some prospects that come to mind are Parker Bridwell and Christian Walker, which should be enough to get Cashner.
Now, let’s look into whether or not Cashner would be a good investment.
One concerning factor is that the Padre had 4.74 ERA on the road last season, while posting a 3.86 ERA at home at Petco Park, a notorious pitcher’s haven. He also had 4.31 ERA in 2014 on the road, which was the year he posted 2.55 ERA. Another scary stat is how Cashner had 5.40 ERA last season with two outs. That’s always been an issue with Orioles pitchers, which makes it difficult to trust in Cashner.
One of the positives about Cashner is that he’s workhorse, pitching at least five innings in all but three of his starts. He’s also a strikeout pitcher, posting an 8.04 K/9 rate last year. Baltimore could use a pitcher like this in the middle of their rotation and he’s clearly a better option than Brian Matusz or Vance Worley.
In addition, Cashner is a free agent in 2017.
So is Cashner worth it?
It’s a gamble, but it’s not a high roll for the Orioles if they only have to package Bridwell and Walker for Cashner. Bridwell is 24 and has yet to pitch above the AA level, so likely wouldn’t make it into the Orioles’ rotation any time soon if at all. Walker is expendable with Davis re-signing and Trey Mancini also in the minors.
Cashner might be able to find form with an actual offense behind him and the Orioles don’t have any better options.
At this point, it’s Cashner or bust for Baltimore. It’s not too exciting, but neither is the rotation right now.