The Blue Jays project to have a solid front four of their rotation, but are still looking to fill the big question mark that is that fifth spot. Enter Jon Morosi of MLB.com, who tweets that Toronto is showing “continued interest” in Andrew Cashner, and that the team hopes to add a veteran starter on a one-year pact.
Cashner’s 2017 season has a lot to be optimistic on the surface; the oft-injured (especially early in his career) righty made 28 trips to the mound and pitched to a very good 3.40 ERA, allowing only fifteen home runs in 1662⁄3 innings on the bump. However, once peeling back the layers even just a bit further, one’s opinion on Cashner’s season begins to sour. Cashner struck out just 86 batters over the course of the season while walking 64, producing a rather ghastly 1.34 K/BB ratio. Cashner also hit nine batters and uncorked ten wild pitches, perhaps further implying a lack of control. Cashner averaged a hair under six innings in his starts, further cementing his status as more of a back-end-of-the-rotation type.
Despite those flaws, Cashner would be a very useful fifth starter for the Blue Jays, and most definitely a better option (at least at this point) than Joe Biagini (whose presence is more sorely needed in the bullpen after the team traded Dominic Leone away) or Ryan Borucki, who may not be quite ready for the majors. Cashner and his representation had reportedly been seeking a three-year contract at the outset of the offseason, and that seemed like a bit of a stretch back then. With the way the offseason’s gone so far, it’d be virtually impossible for him to garner such a contract now, and may not even do better than the one-year, $10 million gamble the Rangers gave him prior to last season.
Other veteran starting pitcher options that the Blue Jays could be looking into and would likely take a one-year deal (pure speculation on my part on both fronts) include Jason Vargas, Jaime Garcia, Ricky Nolasco and Trevor Cahill, among many others left out in the free-agent freeze.