On Tuesday night, Padres starter Andrew Cashner threw six solid innings.
In what even the Padres’ official website referred to as “Cashner’s final audition,” he allowed three earned runs, four hits, three walks, and struck out six while surrendering a pair of dingers. It wasn’t great, but with pitchers like Cashner and Jeremy Hellickson at the top of the starting pitching market as we plunge toward the trade deadline, it’s clear teams aren’t looking for “great.” They’re looking for “help.” And Cashner can provide that in a contender’s rotation.
The contenders, for their part, also know that, and Cashner has long been rumored to be on the move. In fact, that he even made last night’s start was a bit of a surprise to some.
#Padres making progress on trade involving Andrew Cashner, sources say. He may be dealt before start tonight in Toronto.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 26, 2016
Instead, the 29-year-old right hander had another chance to prove he was worth the Padres’ price tag. Naturally, teams said to be interested in acquiring him—the Orioles, Astros, Indians, Blue Jays, Tigers, Rangers, and Giants have all been on that list at some point—felt like they could use another look.
San Diego has not held back their search for compensation, thumbing through Miami’s top prospects (as thin as that farm system is) while in talks with the Marlins. You may not think Cashner would fetch such a bounty, with a 4.76 ERA, only 7.6 SO/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 79.1 IP. But he has only increased the Padres’ boldness by pitching well in his last three starts (in which he has given up 5 ER and 11 H in 17 IP), which in a market this hungry for starting pitching makes him a prime target (It helps that his contract is about to end and the Padres are well out of contention).
Toronto has already completed a deal to deepen their outfield by trading for former San Diego outfielder Melvin Upton. Cashner would help solidify their rotation, and they had the best look at him as they were the team against whom he pitched last night. The Astros could use some more velocity on their staff, and Cashner’s 92-93 m.p.h. heater could provide that. The Orioles have Ubaldo Jimenez, who at this point can’t usually make it past the third inning—Baltimore has perhaps the greatest need for the cavalry to arrive as far as the rotation goes. After the first half struggles of Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler, the Marlins need pitching help to fend off the Mets for a Wild Card spot. The Giants may want to turn Cashner into a reliever.
It’s a versatile cast at the table with the Padres discussing Cashner. Perhaps today will be the day one of them finally complete a deal that many, including Cashner himself, have accepted as inevitable.
Andrew Cashner: "I know I'm going to be traded. It's just part of the game, part of where the season's at."— Dennis Lin (@sdutdennislin) July 22, 2016