Baltimore Orioles: 3 takeaways from the Birds’ first home series win of 2018
By Sam Belden
2. Andrew Cashner needs to get it together
When Cashner signed a two-year deal with a team option for 2020 over the winter, it appeared that the Orioles had given themselves some flexibility. The contract length was a good fit for a contending team, but the reasonable price tag — $6.5 million this year, $9.5 million next year — would allow Dan Duquette to package the righty in a trade if things went south.
One month into the season, the Orioles own one of the worst records in the league, and Cashner’s trade value appears lower than ever. The 31-year-old faced a Tigers team that hadn’t scored a run in 22 innings when he took the mound on Saturday, and that streak was over by the fifth at bat of the game. All told, he gave up six earned runs in four innings, striking our four men and walking three others.
But while Cashner’s season ERA of 4.76 is unsightly, the worst may be yet to come. His 5.48 FIP suggests a huge regression from last year; this is corroborated by a dip in velocity that has been present all season.
In fact, Cashner headed into Saturday’s game having stranded 85.9% of his baserunners, one of the best marks in the bigs. In other words, he got lucky in his first few starts, and this weekend’s straggler could be much closer to the real Andrew Cashner.
If Cashner can turn things around, he’s a solid veteran arm who could have real value on the trade market — but until then, this looks like yet another bad contract on Baltimore’s payroll.