Baltimore Orioles: On the value of Andrew Cashner

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles let the Oakland A’s score 10 runs in the third inning. Andrew Cashner was on the hook for 8 of them, and we’re left wondering whether there’s any life left in this team at all

When the Baltimore Orioles signed Andrew Cashner this past off-season, none of us knew how this season would play out. Some of us might’ve seen a post-season contender, buoyed by Manny Machado, and a surging pitching staff.

Or maybe you’ve seen this coming for over a year now, with the organization’s inability to see reason and refusal take advantage of Machado’s trade value as early as possible becoming sources of severe frustration.

Whatever your view of the 2018 Orioles was six months ago, it’s been decimated by the level of play we’ve seen thus far. The pitching has been absolutely horrendous, and the younger hitters have struggled adapting to major league pitching.

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The Orioles didn’t have much in the way of starting pitching at the beginning of the year. Cashner and Alex Cobb were brought here not only to help the team win games, but to provide veteran starting pitching experience to a rotation drastically devoid of it.

Cashner acknowledged that fact in an interview earlier this year. From a Brittany Ghiroli article in February, “I don’t know a lot, Cashner said of his new club. I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is”. Here it is indeed.

Look, I don’t mean to sit here and bash the guy. For what it’s worth, he’s been healthy and given the Orioles 153 innings so far.

Lest we forget that he was actually good in San Diego from 2013-2015, but he’s been out-pitching his peripherals ever since and it’s showed this year in Baltimore. Cashner’s 1.47 HR/9 is ties for 8th worst in MLB, and he has the second worst strikeout rate among qualified pitchers.

So when we see him go out and pitch two decent innings, followed by a third in which he faces 8 hitters and allows 8 runs without recording an out…as a fan, that hurts. Like, come on man, get it together, you’re better than this.

Moving forward

Cashner needs 187 more innings between this year and next for his 2020 $10 million vesting option to kick in. If he can get 207 more innings before the end of 2019, it’ll become a player option and he’ll be able to leave Baltimore if he wants.

Someone is going to have to pitch those innings for Baltimore next season and if Cashner is healthy, he could still be a good option for the Orioles. In today’s MLB, a mid-4’s ERA is serviceable and Cashner provides experience that the Orioles rotation just doesn’t have.

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We don’t know if Dylan Bundy is ever going to live up to the hype. We know almost nothing about guys like Josh Rogers, Dillon Tate, Luis Ortiz, Hunter Harvey and Keegan Akin.

At least we have some understanding of what Andrew Cashner is, and that holds value for both this year’s team, and the 2019 Orioles.