Will Cashner continue with Orioles?

Andrew Cashner is making his final start today before the All-Star break and it’s interesting to consider whether there’s another countdown to his last days with the Orioles.

Not the last guaranteed year on his contract. His status as trade chip, perhaps the biggest on the club.

Trey Mancini would rank first if we could determine his availability. The Orioles certainly would move Cashner, though creating another hole in the rotation might turn some stomachs queasy.

Who’s deserving of the spot?

Cashner’s ERA is down to 4.03, lowest of the season, to go with a 1.254 WHIP in 16 starts and 89 1/3 innings. He shut out the Indians on three hits over seven innings in his last outing.

The calendar flipped after Cashner registered a 1.44 ERA and 0.800 WHIP in four June starts. He allowed only four earned runs (six total) and 16 hits with four walks in 25 innings.

Left-handed hitters are slashing .186/.255/.257 against Cashner, while right-handers are batting .294/.344/.520. His career splits are more even, with left-handers hitting .258/.334/.427 and right-handers hitting .259/.319/.391.

Cashner has a 2.3 WAR this season, compared to 0.6 in 2018.

Andrew-Cashner-Knuckle-Curve-Gray-Sidebar.jpgExecutive vice president and general manager Mike Elias will listen to any offers. Again, he isn’t blocking incoming calls. And he’s been checking the Cashner market for quite a while. The potential suitors and how much money might have to be absorbed.

In the meantime, Cashner is enhancing his value despite his pending free agency and rental status. He’s happy with the Orioles but can’t control whether he’s traded.

The Orioles might need to go with a nine-man bullpen if they relinquish Cashner.

The rotation is going to include Asher Wojciechowski as soon as the Orioles need another starter following the All-Star break. They have Tom Eshelman at Triple-A Norfolk. They have little interest in bullpen games that leave them scrambling for fresh arms.

Today marks Cashner’s second start this year at Rogers Centre after he tossed six scoreless innings on April 2. He’s had a great deal of success against the Blue Jays over his career, registering a 2.68 ERA and 1.282 WHIP in seven starts.

Randal Grichuk is 3-for-14 with a double and two home runs against Cashner. Freddy Galvis is 3-for-21 and Justin Smoak is 3-for-18 with a home run.

A few leftover items:

Reliever Josh Lucas was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after last night’s 4-1 win over the Blue Jays.

Outfielder Austin Hays (hamstring) began an injury rehab assignment Thursday with short-season Single-A Aberdeen and he homered. He played again last night and went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI while serving as the designated hitter.

Catcher Martin Cervenka (rib) joined Hays with the IronBirds and went 1-for-3 last night with a double and RBI.

Outfielder DJ Stewart is playing for Double-A Bowie while on his rehab assignment. He went 0-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored Thursday and was 2-for-4 last night with a double, RBI and walk.

Catcher Adley Rutschman continues to work out in Sarasota and he’s expected to join the Aberdeen roster next week.

The Mariners designated former Orioles pitcher Mike Wright for assignment again.

The Orioles released former Calvert Hall catcher Alex Murphy, their sixth-round pick in 2013. He appeared in only six games last season with Single-A Frederick and nine this year with Aberdeen before being reinstated from the injured list and released.

Shameless plug alert: I’m on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from noon-2 p.m. on MASN.

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