The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly met with starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. Cashner pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2017 with a 3.40 ERA.
The Baltimore Orioles have been interested in Cashner since the beginning of the offseason, and the team is in desperate need of starting pitching, however, reports are that Cashner may be seeking a three-year deal, something many teams like the Orioles may not be willing to give to a 31-year-old with a history of injuries.
Cashner was drafted with the 19th-overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft and is coming off one of his better seasons in his career. With the Texas Rangers last season, Cashner pitched 166.2 innings with a 3.40 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and a 4.64 K/9.
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While those numbers look solid for the most part (aside from the very low K/9), Cashner’s peripheral numbers indicate that there was a fair bit of luck involved with his season in 2017, as he ended the season with a .266 BABIP and a 5.30 xFIP.
Cashner, who is 31-years-old, has suffered from multiple injuries in the past, as well as a fastball that has lost velocity, dipping from around 97 MPH on average during his days with the San Diego Padres to just 93 MPH on average last year.
While Cashner’s never necessarily been a strikeout pitcher in the traditional sense, even a 4.64 K/9 is pretty pedestrian for him, and the reason for it is because no one was chasing any of his pitches. His changeup gave him his highest whiff rate of the year, and even that was just 9.8%, a fairly average number.
What Cashner did do well, however, was induce weak contact. Last year, more than any other pitch, Cashner threw his sinker, a pitch that had more movement on it than it’s ever had in his career. Cashner’s sinker, last year, had about an inch more drop and almost three inches more horizontal movement than your average sinker.
While it didn’t necessarily get strikeouts (just a 10.3% strikeout rate), it did induce weak contact, as opposing hitters had just a .313 wOBA against the pitch.
And while Cashner’s fastball may be seeing a decline in velocity, it also produced weak contact, with opposing hitters having just a .209 average and a .280 wOBA against the pitch last year.
Likely, if Cashner joined the Baltimore Orioles, he would pitch to around a 4.50-5.00 ERA next year with an average K/9. If he stays healthy, he’s an ok guy in your rotation, but in all honesty, he’s not a whole lot better than what the Orioles already have.