Texas has been looking for pitching this offseason, and has the payroll flexibility to add names such as Jordan Zimmermann or Doug Fister. But the fact that both are set to become free agents after 2015 may turn the Rangers away, and according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, the Rangers have shifted their attention to the Padres' Andrew Cashner.
Cashner, 28, posted a 2.55 ERA and 3.09 FIP in 123.1 innings (19 starts) with San Diego last season. He is expected to make between $3 and $4 million in 2015, and as a result, would give the Rangers the payroll flexibility necessary to make other moves. Cashner is a TCU product and is Texas-born, making him attractive.
Grant notes that Cashner has also told friends that he would like to return to Texas, which could facilitate the process.
San Diego would most likely seek prospects in return for Cashner, who is under team control for two more seasons. Texas General Manager Jon Daniels has reportedly consistently communicated with Padres General Manager A.J. Preller, who is his former assistant. Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, and Tyson Ross are all names that the Padres could deal this offseason while the Rangers seek a balanced deal that would improve their roster instead of adding a big-name free agent.
Although the Padres would be losing one of their better experienced arms, the package of prospects they could receive might make sense. Preller is familiar with Texas' minor league system, and should be able to find prospects that he likes.
Before the Rangers make any major deals, they are also looking to get a feel for Jurickson Profar, who is returning from a shoulder injury and should be ready to contribute. As Grant notes, if Profar proves he is healthy, he can become a big piece in a trade or give the Rangers the opportunity to trade Rougned Odor.
Despite the fact that they are not close to acquiring Cashner, a small deal that involves a starter is more likely than a blockbuster for Texas this offseason.