The Orioles and the Padres were not able to come to a deal on Melvin Upton, which doesn’t mean the O’s are done talking to the Padres as the trade deadline approaches. Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner remains on the O’s radar, and Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “trying hard” to pull off a deal for Cashner.
That is one of those baseball rumor mill phrases that sounds serious but maybe doesn’t mean a dang thing. In the same tweet, Rosenthal emphasizes that the Orioles are “not necessarily the front-runner” for trying to land Cashner. Other teams Rosenthal mentioned as being involved are the Marlins and Rangers, while MLBTR adds that the Blue Jays and Giants are also believed to be in the mix.
If you’re not unambiguously the front-runner, are you really “trying hard”? Maybe it just means that Dan Duquette is being the most annoying GM with making phone calls and sending texts about Cashner. In a lot of ways it doesn’t matter how hard they try. They just don’t have many prospects to offer without dealing a player they probably shouldn’t deal for a rental.
Is it even necessarily a good thing that the Orioles are trying to get Cashner? I remain skeptical, though there’s a clear contingent of Cashner fans out there who I hear from every time I say something bad about him. They seem to believe that he’s going to turn back into the player he was in 2013 and 2014.
Maybe Cashner will turn back into that guy, but that hasn’t been the story of his April through July of this year. Before the All-Star break, the guy had a 5.40 ERA, which is just not very inspiring for a guy who’s expected to cost a couple of prospects for a two month rental. Or a three month rental, if you count the playoffs.
One of those things that was often said on MASN about Chris Tillman last year to try to make his poor season look better was the whole thing about how if you took out his Blue Jays games, his numbers actually looked OK.
Cashner has a bit of that going on with the Dodgers. Take out two Dodgers starts (13 runs in 6.2 innings) and Cashner’s ERA is suddenly an interesting 3.59. Is that enough to make you think he’s so much better than Vance Worley in the rotation that the O’s should deplete their prospect depth to get him?
In this vein, another angle to consider is that getting a starter from elsewhere might allow the Orioles to put less of a demand on Dylan Bundy’s arm - though the O’s don’t seem to think of that as an issue to deal with at this point in time. The guy we saw in Wednesday’s game certainly belongs in the rotation. Bundy’s health is the real question mark.
Cashner’s most recent start was on Tuesday. With the Padres being off on Thursday, that means Cashner’s rotation turn isn’t set to come up again until Monday night, hours after the trade deadline has passed. That last start - three runs in six innings against the Blue Jays - will be the last look at him and they’ll be able to go all the way to the wire to try to make a deal.
It doesn’t seem like a good idea to me, but keep in mind that I know even less than Jon Snow.
Combined with yesterday’s report that the Phillies are asking teams for “one of your top five prospects” for Jeremy Hellickson, it could be that Cashner is their best bet to get someone in a trade. At least for now, other names seem to have faded into the background.
That shouldn’t make Cashner look any better, but you never know what they’re thinking inside the Warehouse.