The Baltimore Orioles have signed starting pitcher Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million deal. Cashner played for the Texas Rangers last year.
Last season, Cashner pitched for the Texas Rangers and ended the year with an 11-11 record and pitching to a 3.40 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and a 4.64 K/9. His K/9 was the second-lowest in baseball among qualifying starting pitchers.
Cashner, 31, gives the Baltimore Orioles some depth in their starting rotation, which has been desperately needed all offseason, given that the only guaranteed starters in their rotation are Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.
While his numbers from last year with the Rangers may look solid, his peripherals are another story. Cashner’s peripherals 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 5.52 SIERA.
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Cashner was drafted with the 19th-overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft and has suffered from multiple injuries in the past, not to mention 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 really been a major strikeout pitcher, even a 4.64 K/9 is pretty low 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.
However, if Cashner was good at one thing last year, it was generating weak contact. Cashner’s most-used pitch last year was his sinker, and it had about an inch more drop on it than it ever has before. While opposing hitters did have a .272 average against it, he limited the contact to just a .115 ISO.
Cashner’s fastball also did a decent job of generating weak contact, with opposing hitters having just a .209 average and a .280 wOBA against the pitch last year.
Luckily, the deal the Baltimore Orioles gave Cashner was fairly cheap, so even if he turns out to be bad, it’s a fairly low-risk deal. Basically, the appeal of Cashner is that he’s a warm body to fill the rotation. I would expect Cashner to pitch to a high-4s/low-5s ERA with a below-average K/9.