Winter Meetings: Would Orioles reunite with Andrew Cashner or Caleb Joseph? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Winter Meetings: Would Orioles reunite with Andrew Cashner or Caleb Joseph?

Andrew Cashner and Caleb Joseph
Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SAN DIEGO—Orioles Executive Vice President/General Manager Mike Elias has a lengthy shopping list for the Winter Meetings that run through Thursday.

After the Orioles traded infielder Jonathan Villar and starting pitcher Dylan Bundy for five pitching prospects last week, Elias said that the Orioles will look for pitching, middle infielders, a catcher and outfield help.

Without Villar, and with last year’s Rule 5 selection Richie Martin possibly heading to Triple-A Norfolk to start the season, the Orioles need infielders.

They’ve claimed Pat Valaika on waivers from Colorado and signed Dilson Herrera to a minor league contract. With three openings on the 40-man roster, perhaps the Orioles will make multiple selections for the fourth consecutive season.

After the December 2 deadline for offering contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Orioles have additional candidates to sift through. Several are familiar names.

Last July, the Orioles traded Andrew Cashner, who had an effective first half of the season, to the Boston Red Sox for two 17-year-old Dominican Summer League players, Elio Prado and Noelberth Romero.

Cashner, who was 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts for the Orioles, had a 6.20 ERA in 25 appearances for Boston. After six starts, the Red Sox sent him to the bullpen.

Elias inherited Cashner’s contract, which paid him $9.5 million in 2019. Obviously, he can’t expect to receive anything close to that in 2020, but with Bundy gone, the Orioles have at least two holes in the rotation.

John Means, Alex Cobb and Asher Wojciechowski are the nominal top three starters. Cashner could eat innings and, if he pitches well, could be a trade chip again.

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Some fans have mentioned former Oriole starter Kevin Gausman, who wasn’t offered a contract by the Cincinnati Reds last week, as a possibility.

Gausman, 28, is five years younger than Cashner, 33. The Orioles traded him and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves on July 31, 2018 for pitchers Evan Phillips and Bruce Zimmermann, catcher Brett Cumberland, infielder JC Encarnacion and $2.5 million in international bonus money.

Gausman was 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts for the Braves and was paid $9.35 million in 2019 in his second season of arbitration eligibility.

Last season, he was 3-7 with a 6.19 ERA in 16 starts for the Braves, who waived him. The Reds claimed him on August 5, and he had a 4.03 ERA in 15 games for them.

Although Gausman often tantalized with his talent, it seems unlikely that the Orioles would bring him back. He’s likely to attract better offers and more attractive situations.

If the Orioles sign a veteran pitcher, they’re hoping that not only does he eat innings and serve as a placeholder until some of their prospects are ready but create a market for themselves.

An effective Gausman could be a trade chip, but he’s probably out of the Orioles ‘price range.

Another player who was wasn’t offered a contract and probably would be in the Orioles’ price range is catcher Caleb Joseph.

The Orioles didn’t offer Joseph a contract, negotiated with him and after they failed to come to an agreement, he signed with Arizona, who didn’t offer him a contract for 2020.

Joseph, a fan favorite during his five seasons with the Orioles, played in only 20 games for the Diamondbacks in 2019, hitting .211 with three RBIs.

Elias said that the Orioles were looking for an additional catcher to augment Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns.

Joseph, who has indicated interest in returning, would be ideal for helping younger pitchers and catchers.

With manager Brandon Hyde not afraid to use position players to pitch, Joseph could come in handy there as well. Last season, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo used him twice and he retired all four batters he faced.

DJ Stewart, who was expected to compete for an outfield spot, will get a late start to his season after ankle surgery, and the Orioles could go for an outfielder on a minor league deal to compete against Cedric Mullins and Mason Williams, who was re-signed to a minor league contract.

Joey Rickard wasn’t offered a contract by the San Francisco Giants. He batted .280 in 16 games with the Giants, but he might not be willing to accept a minor league contract, and the Orioles haven’t indicated they have any interest in him.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Orial

    December 9, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Rich I find it interesting that the Braves gave up on Gausman after a good start when first being traded to them. Being let go so quickly(yes his numbers faltered)then released again tells me more about something that may not be adjustable(maybe his make-up,learning desire). That being said–no to him coming back. Cashner–why not? Joseph sentimental but–no. Very curious to see who/if they take at the Rule 5 draft to clog up the roster with.

  2. jimcarter

    December 9, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Thus far, Elias has given no indication that he’s sentimental with regard to former Orioles. If anything, he has proven to be quite the opposite. There’s really no good reason to continue to audition players who had little to no success here previously. Frankly; I get tired of the parade of names from past failed seasons. It’s time for new faces!

  3. Bancells Moustache

    December 9, 2019 at 10:14 am

    I know I mentioned a Cashner reunion here not too long ago, and I still think it makes sense. The guy seemed to actually like it here and after his flame-out in Boston, hard to see many other suiters throwing money at him.

    I gotta ask Rich, what makes you think Gausman, a guy whom three organizations have thrown in the towel on in the span of 2 years, would be way out of the Orioles price range? He’s gonna require more than the league minimum, but I can’t see it being a very big number. Personally. the 4 years riding the Kevbaldo Gausmanez “will he finally put it together” roller coaster were enough for me, but SOMEBODY has to take the ball every fifth day.

    As for Joseph, I suppose it would be nice for a guy who literally gave his left nut for the organization to come back to the O’s, but count me with Orial, I’ll pass.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 9, 2019 at 11:52 am

      I think he’ll have more attractive opportunities elsewhere, and he’s still relatively young so more teams are likely to show interest.

  4. willmiranda

    December 9, 2019 at 10:33 am

    I think it very likely that all of the players mentioned are as good as or better than what Elias will throw out on the field next summer. But the O’s have nothing to entice them, unless no one else wants them and they only want more service time toward their pensions. No offense to Cedric and Mason, but being invited to “compete” with them is not flattery or a high recommendation. As for Joseph, I’ve always been a fan, and I hope he finds a good situation, better than fourth catcher on the losingest team in baseball. I suppose some consider me a whiner, but I’d rather whine about the present, which is subject to change, than about the past, which isn’t.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 9, 2019 at 11:03 am

    I’d more than welcome Cashner and/or Gausman back into the fold provided neither were given anything more than a 2 year contract. I’m tired of turning off the TV because the other team scored double digits before the 3rd inning was over.

    Really boys, what are the odds these 2 would be worse that the dregs Elias forced on us last year such as Dan Straily and Tom Eshelman?

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 9, 2019 at 11:55 am

      I can’t see the Orioles offering more than a one-year contract to any player, Ken.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 9, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      No chance they would get more than 1 year.

  6. Lookouts400

    December 9, 2019 at 11:04 am

    I agree, Gausman could very well be affordable, on a one year, get established type contract. And hopefully the new regime can get him to throw the ball over the plate. In 2016, his first full year as a starter, with 30 starts and 179.2 IP, his WHiP was a very nice 1.280. The next year, 34 starts and 186.2 innings, his WHiP increased to 1.495. The difference? Forty seven walks to 71, along with 208 hits allowed in those 186.2 innings. The next year, split between here and ATL, an overall 1.301 WHiP, 1379 in Baltimore, 1140 in Georgia. But it increased again last year, his age 28 season, overall 1417, but this time it was because of his 113 hits allowed in 102.1 innings, the walks a respectable 32. But again, he got his WHiP to a nice 1164 with the Reds, down from a miserable 1488 with the Braves.

    The point is, Gausman has shown all sorts of potential, yet cannot put it all together. If they could bring in both Cashner and Gausman, and I don’t see why that’s such a stretch, where Gaus isn’t the main man, maybe he can relax and be himself. Plus, he’d be with a new staff, with new ideas to help him. His talent is undeniable. He’s still just 28/29 with a powerful arm. With his inconsistent results over the past few years, hard to see anyone throwing good money at him. Whomever signs him, maybe they’ll let him eat his donuts again.

  7. Tony Paparella

    December 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    I would think Elias will be looking elsewhere initially as far as most of the guys mentioned are concerned.None of them really shows much more upside than Elias, or everyone else for that matter has already seen.I would rather they reached out and gambled on prospects, but I also understand you need some stability so the fans can continue to endure during this rebuild process.I am hoping they give some of our minor league guys a shot even though it is thought many still need more time.I understand that but a lot of them have been in the game for awhile now and it may be worth letting them get their feet wet in the Bigs.Some tough decisions but this is what they do everyday so I hope they make the right moves.

  8. Hallbe62

    December 9, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Honestly, I wouldn’t think you could pay either Gasman or Cashner enough money to come back here.

    Why would either even consider it ?

    I’m all ears

    • Hallbe62

      December 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

      That’s what I thought…………….nothing

      • Lookouts400

        December 10, 2019 at 10:52 am

        Why wouldn’t they? There’s virtually no chance of either going to any team other than a rebuilder, so why not go to an organization with which they have some familiarity? Cashner is known to like it here and Gausman might just benefit from the new philosophy. I shouldn’t expect either to jump at the first offer from the Orioles, who knows if there even is one or will be, but it does make some sense from all view points. Getting both would fill out the rotation and if either do well enough to become trade chips, along with possibly Cobb, by then hopefully one or two or more of the prized prospects will be ready to come up and get their feet wet in the second half of the season.

        And, an even more long shot, say Cashner, Gausman, and Cobb do pitch well enough that the Orioles are semi respectable, might then they even stay?

        • Hallbe62

          December 10, 2019 at 7:39 pm

          Good argument. Gausman already gone to SF.

  9. BirdsCaps

    December 9, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Even though I would be fine with Cashner coming back, a Caleb comeback would give the fanbase “someone” to root for. Also, I’ve been following him since his days in Aberdeen (I think ’06).

  10. Dantor

    December 9, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    No to Cashner, didn’t show anything with the O’s when he was here. Gausman, for the right price and a 1 year contract would make sense. Don’t think Elias will go that way as he seems to want younger talent. Love to have Joseph back as always enjoyed watching him in the major and minors.
    Really don’t have any hope for the O’s for the next 5-7 years as Elias seems to be looking at 16 year olds instead of trying to establish a team that could compete in 2 to 3 years.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      So the 2019 9-3 record with a 3.83
      ERA, in a hitters’ ballpark, on a terrible team, in a juiced baseball year didn’t show you anything?

  11. cedar

    December 9, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    I’m all for anything that can improve the pitching staff on the field and in the dugout. If Cashner can eat innings and Joseph can provide leadership and mentor the younger players it can only help.

    I think Gausman showed just enough after playing in Cincinnati to garner more interest (and money) from other teams.

  12. WorldlyView

    December 9, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    The wisdom of signing Cashner and/or Gausman is inversely proportionate to the relative quality of other free agent pitchers willing to accept an offer from the Birds.
    Given the outlook for the upcoming season and the unlikelihood of the O’s throwing out big money offers, I don’t think it likely that in-demand pitchers will be knocking down the doors of OPACY.

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