The Orioles have finally added to their starting rotation, getting a pitcher that had a strong season in 2017 on a short-term contract. And then there were three established pitchers in the five-man rotation.
As first reported by MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko, the O’s have added right-hander Andrew Cashner on a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $16 million. ESPN.com and SB Nation reported that the deal includes a vesting option for the 2020 season at $10 million. It vests if he pitches a combined 340 innings over the first two seasons of the deal, but become a player option if he reaches 360 innings. Cashner pitched 166 2/3 innings last season and has averaged 161 innings over the last three seasons. But he has made 30 or more starts just one time in his career. The deal can max out at three years and $41 million if all incentives and options are met.
While Cashner did have an ERA of 4.34 in 2015 and 5.25 in 2016, he pitched much better last year after Texas signed him to a one-year deal worth $10 million. He went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA. He had a groundball rate among starters that ranked ninth at 48.6 and he tied for 11th with 18 quality starts. He was also pitch efficient, ranking seventh in the American League at 15.8 pitches per inning. He was second in homer rate allowed at 0.89 per nine.
For fans of strikeouts, Cashner averaged just 4.6 per nine innings last year after averaging 8.0 in 2015 and 7.6 the following season. For his career, Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA, a 3.99 FIP, 3.2 walks and 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings. His career WHIP is 1.319.
At home last year, Cashner went 5-5 with a 2.72 ERA that ranked fifth in the AL. On the road, he went 6-6 with a 4.07 ERA. In the first five innings of his 2017 starts, his ERA was 2.58. After that, it was 7.04. He led all of the majors with a batting average against of .170 when pitching with runners in scoring position.
So the Orioles now have three locked-in members of the 2018 rotation, with Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and the 31-year-old Cashner. The Cashner of 2015-16 would be worse than the 2017 version, which would prove to be a very solid addition to an Orioles rotation that pitched to an ERA of 5.70 last year.
What are your thoughts on this signing? Do the Orioles have one or two more rotation additions in them?