An Orioles reunion with Andrew Cashner remains a sensible idea - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

An Orioles reunion with Andrew Cashner remains a sensible idea

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Believe it or not, spring training begins in just over five weeks. Pitchers and catchers report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida on February, 11 with position players to follow five days later.

Over the holidays, the Orioles did sign a free-agent pitcher, right-hander Kohl Stewart, formerly of the Minnesota Twins to give them another candidate to join the starting rotation.

At last month’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, manager Brandon Hyde indicated he would prefer eight viable rotation alternatives.

While Hyde surely could come up with eight possible starters from those who’ll report to camp, more is obviously better.

Nearly all the top free-agent starters have found homes for 2020. But there are still some second-tier starters on the market, including Alex Wood and Ivan Nova. Both are likely to command contracts far beyond the Orioles’ financial model.

So are most of the recognizable names on the free-agent list. While many in the restive fan base would be happy if the Orioles took a flyer on a couple of those names, most have recent injury histories or have underperformed.

They went that route a year ago when they signed Nate Karns for $800,000, which is what Stewart signed for. Karns missed much of 2017 and all of 2018, and they hoped he could help anchor their rotation. Instead, he pitched 5 1/3 innings before a forearm injury finished his time with the Orioles.

The Orioles could try that again, or they could sign one of the names on the list who won’t command a huge salary, doesn’t have a recent injury history and didn’t have an awful 2019.

If they re-signed Andrew Cashner, who had a fine first half of the season before being sent to Boston for two teenaged Dominican Summer League prospects in mid-July, they could beef up their rotation.

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Cashner was 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts with the Orioles before his trade, but had a 6.20 ERA in 25 appearances with Boston, just six of them starts.

If they re-signed Cashner, he could join Alex Cobb and John Means and give the Orioles some badly needed credibility in the rotation.

With Cashner, Cobb, Means and likely Asher Wojciechowski, Hyde would only have to come up with a fifth starter from a host of candidates, including Stewart, David Hess, Rule 5 draft choices Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker and a number of non-roster starters.

Surely, the Orioles would prefer to let Keegan Akin start his 2020 in Triple-A Norfolk and work on his control.

Last season, the Orioles auditioned Ty Blach, Tom Eshelman, Luis Ortiz and Chandler Shepherd, none of whom is on the 40-man, but perhaps one can make the roster.

It would be much easier for Hyde to come up with one starter than two, but signing Cashner, who enjoyed his time with the Orioles, might be more difficult than it appears.

When he originally signed with the Orioles on February 15, 2018, Cashner agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract.

This time, he’ll likely have to settle for a one-year deal at much less. It would be interesting to see if there is interest by either side.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias would have to offer Cashner much more than he offered Karns or Stewart to sign, and the 33-year-old right-hander would have to agree to take far less than he did two years ago.

If Cashner re-signed and pitched well with the Orioles, they’ll again try to trade him, and he’d know that before agreeing to terms.

While a Cashner return probably wouldn’t excite the fans, it would settle the rotation, put less pressure on a young bullpen and keep the Orioles from putting a starter or two in a position they’re not ready for.

Don Larsen as an Oriole: On New Year’s Day, Don Larsen, who was primarily known as the only man to pitch a perfect game in the World Series, died at 90.

Larsen had two stints with the Orioles. He was one of the few surviving members of the first Orioles team, having moved from St. Louis with the Browns for the 1954 season. He also pitched for the team in 1965.

In 1954, Larsen had a 3-21 record and 4.37 ERA for the Orioles before being shipped to the New York Yankees in a 17-player trade, the biggest in baseball history.

That trade, which took three weeks to complete, sent Larsen, infielder Billy Hunter, who also survives, and pitcher Bob Turley to New York. Among those coming to the Orioles were catcher Gus Triandos, infielder Willy Miranda and outfielder Gene Woodling.

The Orioles released Larsen just before the start of the 1966 season.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. deqalt

    January 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Great thought for sure and I guess Cashner might be running out of opportunities, but I doubt he would want to come back. I’m sure he wants to win! I think it is far fetched to think you can just trade him at the deadline. We have seen that doesn’t really bring back much more than a bag of balls.

  2. Bancells Moustache

    January 6, 2020 at 10:20 am

    I think this is a solid move to make. He isn’t going to break the bank and after his disastrous Boston tenure, hard to imagine many other teams kick the tires. He certainly doesn’t have much leverage to demand a winning team sign him. Cashner actually was on record saying he liked it in Baltimore, and he was a solid pitcher here. May as well bring him back, since you need someone to take the ball every fifth day, or in the Orioles case every third and fourth day as well. I suppose the question is does he want the uncertainty that goes with knowing come July he’ll probably be sold for another bag of balls.

  3. Orial

    January 6, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Sure why not. There’s no down side to it. He liked Baltimore,he’s serviceable,probably fairly cheap,a Big Brother to the younger pitchers,he probably realizes his days of “choosing a team” are behind him. No reason to waste time flipping through 2nd/3rd tier FA starters to find an arm. Mr. Elias—just do it.

  4. Nellie

    January 6, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Interesting that you mentioned Cashner and Larson in the same column as I immediately thought of them as similar journeyman innings eating pitchers. WRONG. While Cashner is durable, his 57-87 record is far below Larson.

    Larson, in 13 full season, was 81-91. His record on 3 last place teams (1953 Browns, 1954 O’s, 1960 A’s) was 11-43. The remaining 10 years he was 70-48.

    Yes, he was part of a 17 man trade with the Yankees. Basically it came down to Larson and Turley in return for Triandos. While Gus was steady and a fan favorite, it was a steal for the Bronx Bombers. Larson and Turley along with Whitey Ford were the only 3 Yankee pitchers that played in all 4 WS between 1955 and 1958. Larson had a similar record and a better era than both of them. He was MVP in 1956 as Turley was in 1958.

    It’s to bad that he is only remembered for his perfect game and (along with Turley) becoming the first starting pitchers to go to the no windup. He was much better than that. Oh, he also was a heck of a hitter for a pitcher with a career .242 average. Higher than 5 of the 11 Orioles that had 300 or more at bats last year. OUCH.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    January 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Rich, despite what you may think, this is one fan that would be excited to see a Cashner return. What’s not to get excited about? Someone that’s perfectly capable of getting past the 2nd inning is a start. Imagine getting ¾ of a season out of him before another opportunity to fleece the Sox out of couple of pony-leaguers?!!?

    Let the rebuild begin!!

    • Lookouts400

      January 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      I agree. He’s a good guy, loved being here, loved working with the young pitchers. It’s one thing if a pitching coach tells you something, but still another when a grizzled veteran does.

  6. Bman

    January 6, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Do it bro!

  7. CalsPals

    January 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Absolutely, said this months ago…feel free to trade away corncobb, not sure I’d want him to rub off on any youngens, no problem w/Cashner though, he said he loved it here & lasts yrs stats support that…go O’s…

  8. BirdsCaps

    January 6, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    As said in the article, the Orioles will sign him and try to trade him at the deadline. This will provide stability in the first half and if for some reason he has an all star caliber first half (it is unlikely) the birds could get a decent prospect or two. If not I guess two more 15-16 yr old lottery tickets.

  9. OriolesNumber1Fan

    January 6, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    It would be great getting Cash back for both him and Orioles! O’s get a vet starter they are looking for and Cash gets to start again and re-establish as a starter.
    Breaking news: Orioles sign Shortstop Jose Iglesias for 1 year @ 3 mm! Club option could turn into 2 year 6 mm. Another nice move for the defense!!!

  10. willmiranda

    January 6, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Wow! Quite a comedown from debating whether Hall-of-Famer Hoyt Wilhelm would fit on our pitching staff. As for Cashner, I feel positively about him; but I don’t think he’d bring “credibility” to the starting rotation named. No rotation with neither a number one nor a number two has credibility in my view. On a good day, the pitchers mentioned can be threes. The O’s are not going to sign a One or a Two for a number of reasons. We’ll be trotting out “innings eaters,” hoping to get through six innings in single digits. If we sign Cashner, I’m all for it; but I don’t see a man of his age wanting the instability of being constantly on the block if another team can come up with a couple teenie boppers.

  11. WorldlyView

    January 6, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Why not cut out the middleman and have Cashner sign now with the team to whom the Orioles would trade him?

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