Baltimore Orioles: Reacting to the Andrew Cashner signing

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 3: Andrew Cashner #34 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees at PETCO Park on July 3, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 3: Andrew Cashner #34 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees at PETCO Park on July 3, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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It’s about time the Baltimore Orioles signed a pitcher. Now, they only need to fill two more spots.

The Baltimore Orioles reportedly signed Andrew Cashner to a two-year deal worth $16 million.

This long-awaited free-agent signing was reported by several sources, so here’s a Tweet from a credible source:

So, was this a good signing? Maybe. Not everyone is excited about it. In fact, one Tweet pointed out a rather horrifying thing: Cashner has a lot in common with Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley. Dan Syzmborski, an ESPN analyst with way too much knowledge about advanced metrics Tweeted this gem:

Syzmborski is so into baseball numbers that he crafted his very own system of projecting how players will do in their upcoming season. He’s pretty good at what he does. So much so that Fangraphs uses his metrics on their websites. And, the MLB explained ZiPS and how it is accepted in the industry.

Based on previous seasons and trends, Cashner’s projections for 2018 are about the same as the projections for Jimenez and Miley. One notable similarity is their projected ERAs. While Cashner is projected to have a 5.00 ERA, the former Orioles pitchers are projected to both have ERAs of 5.02. All three are projected to have WARs of 0.7. All three are expected to have ERA+ numbers of 84. So, according to Syzmborski, the Orioles just resigned Ubaldo Jimenez with a really big beard.

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Of course, this signing could be fantastic. Cashner’s 2017 numbers were significantly better than his 2016 numbers. His career ERA is 3.80, but he has had some hiccups over his eight years in the MLB. In 2016, he pitched for the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres. His combined ERA that season was 5.25, and he had a 5.98 in Miami. In 2017, he moved to the Texas Rangers and his ERA dropped back down to 3.40. He also had a WAR of 4.6 in 2018 – that’s better than the entire starting O’s pitching rotation added up in 2017.

And, unlike ZiPS and Fangraphs, Baseball Reference projects a respectable 2018 from Cashner with an ERA of 4.21 with a WHIP of 1.410.

What could be very beneficial for the O’s is Cashner’s ground-ball rate. According to Fangraphs, in 2018, his ground-ball percentage was 48.6. Keeping the ball on the ground will help him find success at Camden Yards. He ground-ball rate has declined over the years, but it has remained steady in the upper 40s for a few seasons.

Next: Orioles and Gausman agree to contract deal

No matter what your thoughts are about Cashner, he’s here for two seasons. Welcome to Birdland, Cash!