Andrew Cashner Rumors

Padres Notes: Benoit, Kennedy, Headley, Cashner

Following the Padres’ trade of Huston Street to the Angels last night, here’s the latest out of San Diego.

  • The Padres’ trade of Street shows about what they’ll expect in return for Joaquin Benoit, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (Twitter links). Since most teams would not want Benoit to be their closer, though, the price would have to be somewhat lower than it was for Street.
  • The Pirates and Royals both scouted starting pitcher Ian Kennedy last night, Rosenthal tweets. The Pirates are looking for starters and relievers, Rosenthal notes.
  • The Blue Jays are part of an “ongoing dialogue” regarding Chase Headley, Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Morosi tweets. The Jays have shown interest in Headley in the past.
  • The Padres are likely to trade outfielder Chris Denorfia, Morosi tweets. Denorfia, like Headley, is a free agent this coming offseason, so it makes sense that the Padres could have interest in trading them both.
  • In case you missed it from the Yankees notes post, Andy Martino of New York Daily News reports that the Padres are not likely to trade Andrew Cashner, who was terrific this season before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Cashner is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.

Blue Jays Interested In Chase Headley

Reports have noted that the Blue Jays are looking for upgrades at second base or third base for the past few days, and Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that multiple baseball sources have confirmed that Chase Headley is among Toronto’s targets. San Diego appears willing to move the struggling third baseman, as one source tells Sanders that the Friars are “open for business” on talks involving anyone except ace Andrew Cashner.

Headley’s trade value is a bit tough to determine for a number of reasons. He’s earning $10.25MM this season in his final year before free agency, but he hasn’t played up to his standards, having produced just a .199/.286/.328 line with six homers and a pair of steals. Beyond his somewhat high salary is the fact that he underwent an epidural injection in an attempt to alleviate pain in his back caused by a herniated disc. He missed four games following the epidural and is back on the field, but as Sanders notes, interested parties seem likely to wait a bit to see how Headley responds to the treatment.

Lastly, the Padres may simply not wish to sell low on Headley, who in 2012 was a legitimate MVP candidate but has been bothered by injuries since. Headley rode a monstrous second-half surge that season to a fifth-place finish in the MVP voting, batting .308/.386/.592 after the All-Star break. Knowing that his diminished performance will lead to a lesser return in terms of prospects, San Diego may prefer to hope that Headley finishes with a strong performance. That could lead the Padres to make a qualifying offer and receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere, though that scenario is my own speculation and not something included in Sanders’ report.

The Blue Jays have relied heavily on Brett Lawrie and Juan Francisco at the hot corner this season. Francisco has seen a good deal of playing time against right-handed pitching, with Lawrie shifting to second base on those days. When the Jays face a lefty starter, Lawrie has shifted back to third with one of Steven Tolleson or Munenori Kawasaki handling second base. However, Lawrie is currently on the DL and Francisco’s bat has cooled, even against right-handed pitching. Francisco is hitting just .164/.215/.377 in the month of June, and that slide, coupled with his poor defense at third, have likely played into Toronto’s motivation to search for upgrades.


Padres GM Josh Byrnes Could Be On Hot Seat

GM Josh Byrnes’ relationship with the Padres’ ownership has “deteriorated,FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes, and one scenario is that the team could fire Byrnes and replace him with fellow Padres exec A.J. Hinch on an interim basis. Tony Gwynn’s recent passing could prevent the Padres from making such a move immediately, but Rosenthal suggests that they’ll need to make a decision soon, with the trade deadline on the horizon. Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin (who could waive his no-trade clause), Ian Kennedy and Huston Street could all wind up on the trade market, and the team could also get plenty of talent if it traded Andrew Cashner.

Reports last week indicated that there could soon be a shakeup within the Padres organization, with hitting coach Phil Plantier and manager Bud Black possibly among the most vulnerable, though Rosenthal reports that it’s Byrnes whose situation is most uncertain. At 32-42, the Padres are in the midst of what could be their fourth straight losing season, despite a payroll increase last winter.



West Notes: Perez, Cashner, Ibanez, La Russa

Rangers left-hander Martin Perez underwent his Tommy John surgery earlier today, and everything “went as expected,” writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister, who performs most of the club’s surgeries. As the Rangers look to deal with that blow to their rotation, here’s more from baseball’s Western divisions…

  • For the time being, Padres ace Andrew Cashner has avoided joining Perez on the list of series elbow injuries. Cashner underwent an MRI today, and while that test has conditioned the public to fear the worst, GM Josh Byrnes issued the following statement via press release: After performing an MRI today on Andrew’s right elbow, our doctors have indicated to me that he has elbow soreness and irritation. Based on our doctors’ recommendation we will be proceeding with rest and rehabilitation for his recovery.”
  • Though the Angels will soon need to make roster moves to get Kole Calhoun, David Freese and Dane De La Rosa back on the active roster, releasing struggling DH Raul Ibanez isn’t likely, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. General manager Jerry Dipoto wouldn’t say Ibanez will not be released, Gonzalez writes, but he expressed that the team will remain patient and voiced confidence in the aging slugger: Raul has a track record. He has done this before. He has gone through cold spells, and he has gotten hot. There’s nobody here who believes Raul has had his last good days in the big leagues.”
  • Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall “can hardly stop pinching [himself]” after the team’s hiring of Tony La Russa as its new chief baseball officer, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. La Russa drew interest from multiple clubs for an executive role and turned down at least one offer, feeling that he wasn’t needed with that team, Heyman adds. He also writes that manager Kirk Gibson has close to a clean slate following the La Russa hire, and that La Russa will give Gibson and GM Kevin Towers until at least season’s end to help get the Snakes back on track.

NL Notes: D’Backs, Rockies, Cashner, Gonzalez, Davis

The news of the day was out of Arizona, where the Diamondbacks made a bold move to add Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa atop the club’s baseball operations department. Many observers hailed the move, with Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writing that the experienced and respected LaRussa could effect a “cultural overhaul” akin to that delivered to the Orioles by Buck Showalter. Of course, LaRussa’s role will be much broader than that of Showalter, and he’ll face quite a different challenge from the one that brought him to Cooperstown.

Here’s more from the D’Backs and the rest of the National League:

  • The immediate reaction to LaRussa’s hiring was that embattled Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers and/or manager Kirk Gibson could be on their way out. After reporting that a further shake-up would likely not occur in the immediate future, Bob Nightengale of USA Today provided some details on the previously unknown terms of the extensions given to both of those team leaders before the start of what has turned into a trying season (via Twitter). Towers’s deal takes him through 2016, while Gibson’s contract is believed to run through 2015, says Nightengale. Of course, that does not mean that the pair is ensured to last until those pacts expire.
  • If the Rockies decide to shop for pitching, the club will have plenty of teams banging on the door for a chance to add one of their top two prospect arms (Jon Gray and Eddie Butler), reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link). But Rosenthal says that the team is more likely to bring one or both of those power righties up, noting that the team seems to have solid rotation depth.
  • Padres staff ace Andrew Cashner was placed on the 15-day DL today after experiencing discomfort and inflammation in his right elbow. As Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, the 27-year-old says he is “not worried about my ligament at all.” Nevertheless, he will undergo a precautionary MRI on Monday. After a solid 175-inning, 3.09 ERA campaign last year, Cashner has elevated his game this year with a 2.35 ERA through 57 1/3 frames (7.4 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9). He is earning a $2.4MM salary for 2014, his first arb-eligible campaign, and should be in line for a big raise if he can stay on the mound and keep producing at those levels.
  • Meanwhile, Nationals southpaw Gio Gonzalez suffered through a second-straight rough outing today, and manager Matt Williams said after the game that the club has been monitoring complaints of shoulder stiffness. As Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports, Gonzalez will undergo precautionary testing tomorrow, including an MRI. When asked if he was experiencing any health issues, Gonzalez gave a response that seems open to interpretation. “Realistically, arm was dropping a lot,” he said. “I guess we’ll see.”
  • First baseman Ike Davis has regained his form at the plate since being traded to the Pirates, Jorge Arangure writes for the New York Times. Davis has compiled a .286/.383/.414 line through his first 81 plate appearances in Pittsburgh. In part, it bears noting, Davis has benefited from platoon usage: on the year, he has yet to record a hit in 15 plate appearances against same-handed pitchers, while sporting a nifty .902 OPS against righties. After several up-and-down years with the Mets, Davis said he is keeping his focus on the present and does not bear any ill-will to his former club.

Padres Notes: Gyorko, Headley, Cashner

Here are a few notes on the Padres, who opened the day a full three games back of the division-leading Dodgers and Giants in the National League West:

  • The Pads have been one of the few MLB teams to have been burned by early-career extensions in recent years, notes Dave Cameron in a piece for FOX Sports. One issue — putting aside the injury and performance issues that have cropped up — is that San Diego has made several of its bets on players whose expected future market value (through arbitration and free agency) was simply not that high. That, in turn, limited the amount of upside (in terms of cost savings) that the team could realize through those contracts. The team's recent extension of Jedd Gyorko, Cameron argues, is of the same ilk: he is not a high-average hitter or stolen base threat, and his power is less impressive if he plays at third in the future. Cameron opines that, while the deal is not necessarily a bad contract, the team still took on significant risk without getting a real chance at landing a "huge bargain."  
  • Current third baseman Chase Headley, meanwhile, reportedly turned down his chance at a new deal, and looks destined for the open market at the end of the season. MLB.com's Corey Brock noted that Headley had told him late in the spring that he "just [didn't] think it was ever the right time" to strike an extension. "There's enough ground in between us to where it wasn't going to work out right now," Headley said. "We just couldn't find that common ground." As Brock explains, the likely options now for San Diego look to be a trade, qualifying offer after the year, or another run at a contract. Headley addressed the QO himself with Brock: "We weighed that [in discussions with the team] and it's not a great system for the player. You have to play six full seasons just to get to free agency. … When you get to that point in your career, I don't think it's necessarily fair to have this one shot at free agency affected by that. At some point, someone is going to take one of those." Of course, Headley added that accepting the QO is "not a bad way to go" because "that's a pretty big number for one year."
  • Staff ace Andrew Cashner is showing signs that he could be developing into a true ace, writes Scott Miller for FOX Sports San Diego. Acquired from the Cubs in exchange for young slugger Anthony Rizzo, in what was a bold trade for both clubs, the 27-year-old has made clear that he wants and expects to be a dominant force. "I definitely want a no-hitter," said Cashner, calling it "one of my goals." Indeed, he has looked capable of that recently. Cashner has allowed just 10 hits and three earned runs through his first 21 innings (over three starts) in 2014, striking out 9.4 against 3.0 free passes per nine while holding opposing hitters to a .363 OPS. After re-discovering his slider last year, Cashner worked to a 2.14 ERA in the second half. As he plays out his first arb-eligible season, the big righty looks like a prime extension candidate in his own right.

NL West Notes: Cashner, Padres, Rockies

This evening, Andrew Cashner of the Padres pitched six strong innings against the Dodgers, striking out five and allowing just one run in the first 2014 MLB regular-season game to take place on American soil. That led FOX Sports' Jon Morosi to wonder (via Twitter) who would ultimately win the trade that sent Cashner to the Padres and Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs. That's a question that might not be resolved anytime soon. Early on, the Cubs looked like the likely winners after Rizzo put together an excellent .285/.342/.463 season in 2012, leading to a $41MM extension early in the 2013 season. Rizzo had a disappointing 2013 season, though, and Cashner, with his terrific fastball and strong 2013 season, may be emerging as one of the National League's better young(-ish) starting pitchers. Here are more notes from the NL West.

  • The Padres have about 30 percent of their payroll on the disabled list, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. That includes Carlos Quentin ($9.5MM), Josh Johnson ($8MM), Cameron Maybin ($5MM) and Cory Luebke ($3MM). Of course, in Johnson's case, the Padres were well aware he was an injury risk before they signed him. "With Johnson, we thought the risk was worth it. That’s what we’re going to do from time to time and we have to," says Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler. "To balance things, we have to take some risks that other teams don’t have to take."
  • The rising salaries of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez might make 2014 their last season as Rockies teammates, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post writes. "I want to play my entire career with CarGo, but of course I think about how it might not happen. I thought it would be the case with (Matt) Holliday, and it didn't work out," says Tulowitzki, who will make $16MM in 2014 before his salary increases to $20MM in 2015. Gonzalez will make $10.5MM in 2014 and $16MM in 2015. The Rockies say, however, that they won't need to trade either player.

NL Notes: Cashner, Rizzo, Drew, Mets, Dodgers, Pirates

With the trade that sent Andrew Cashner to the Padres and Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs now over two years distant, R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus takes a look at its background and how it has played out to date. While both players have proven that their talent plays at the big league level, each still comes with questions. Nevertheless, the trade appears to have been quite an equal swap at this point, he opines.

Here's more from the National League:

  • The Mets hesitation with respect to shortstop Stephen Drew relates to the team's valuations of him and internal option Ruben Tejada, reports MLB.com's Anthony DiComo"At the numbers he's looking for," a source told DiComo, "we don't think he's worth it compared to what we have." At this point, a trade of Ike Davis is a more likely outcome than the signing of Drew, says DiComo.
  • Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said today that a platoon was possible at second base, a prospect that Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times questions. Both Alexander Guerrero and Dee Gordon — the two likely platoon options — are converting from shortstop, and each brings lots of uncertainty to the table. Guerrero, the club's most expensive offseason acquisition, has reportedly had some struggles moving to the other side of the bag, but putting his right-handed bat in a platoon role would significantly limit his plate appearances.
  • In spite of a resoundingly successful 2013 campaign, Pirates GM Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle will both go into the season without a contractual assurance that they'll be around for another. As Rob Biertempfel of the PIttsburgh Tribune-Review reports, Owner Bob Nutting said today that extensions for the two are not a major priority, though he indicated that he'd be amenable to talks at the right time. "What they've done for the organization in good and bad times really is tremendous," said Nutting, "and I hope they're with the organization for a long time. My expectation is they're going to be critically important pieces of this organization as we go forward."
  • Nutting also indicated that the Pirates would still consider giving up a draft pick to sign a free agent, Biertempfel further reports"Certainly nothing is off the table," he said. "But at the same time, we need to recognize that a first-round draft pick is a meaningful source of talent for a team like the Pirates. We want to be smart and cautious." The Bucs have spoken with first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, Biertempfel notes, though the extent of the team's interest remains unknown.

Andrew Cashner Wins Arbitration Case

Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner has won his arbitration case against the Padres, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (via Twitter). Cashner will make $2.4MM in 2014. The Padres had offered $2.275MM, so the difference between the two figures was relatively small, but Cashner's victory should still help him bump his salary up slightly in future seasons. Cashner is represented by CAA Sports.

2014 is Cashner's first year of arbitration eligibility, and he's eligible for free agency after the 2016 season. The righty posted a 3.09 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 175 innings for the Padres in 2013.


Quick Hits: Epstein, Cespedes, Tanaka, Arb Hearings

Current Cubs president of baseball operations and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein covered a range of subjects in a fascinating interview on WEEI's Hot Stove Show on Thursday (audio linktranscript). In addition to discussing the two clubs he has headed from a baseball ops perspective, Epstein emphasized the impact of changes to the CBA. The new system has both reduced teams' abilities to reap draft picks from outgoing free agents, Epstein said, and made it difficult to pay for hard-to-sign talent in later draft rounds. Here's more from around the league, including other notable talking points from Epstein:

  • Discussing his current club's reported pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka, Epstein noted that the pitcher likely cost the Yankees more in real terms than the team's $175MM contract and release fee commitment, once the collective bargaining tax is accounted for. The signing, said Epstein, "reflects the dynamic that there are many, many teams with lots and lots of dollars to spend and very few places to spend them, very few players who represent sound investments for the dollars."
  • "There are lots of teams demanding talented, prime-age players, and supply is really a trickle," Epstein continued. "Fewer and fewer players of that ilk are reaching free agency. … You're going to see these prices that cause people to shake heads. … Because of the TV deals, the teams that have them have a lot of money and not a lot of attractive players to spend the money on." Indeed, as I explored earlier tonight, some teams' desires to use free cash to enhance the value of their player assets (i.e., control and contract rights) could result in increasingly robust contracts for some younger players that remain years away from free agency.
  • One player that seems suitable for an attractive, long-term investment is Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics. Fresh on the heels of today's extension of teammate Coco Crisp, Cespedes said that he, too, hopes to ink a new pact, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 28-year-old slugger, who still has two years remaining on the deal he signed out of Cuba, said that he hopes to play for the A's for his entire career. Of course, given his relative youth, upside, and high profile, Cespedes figures to command a much higher price than the $22.75MM over two years just given to Crisp. It remains to be seen whether the A's will be willing to dangle a sufficient guarantee to get a deal done.
  • Turning back to the aforementioned Tanaka, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio today (via ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand) that the club views its new acquisition as "a really solid, consistent number three starter." Cashman noted that, though the club scouted Tanaka extensively, uncertainty remains as to how he will transition to the big leagues. "If we get more than that," Cashman said, "all the better. He's got a great deal of ability."
  • Two arbitration hearings took place today, after none occurred last year. Andrew Cashner of the Padres and Vinnie Pestano of the Indians both made their cases to their respective panels. Cashner and the Padres are quite close in filing numbers ($2.4MM against $2.275MM), while Pestano ($1.45MM) and the Indians ($975K) left a larger absolute and relative sum to chance. 
  • Glancing in at MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, 16 cases remain unsettled as hearings begin to take place. By my count, just over $23MM remains at stake between the player filings ($79.325MM total) and team counters ($56.15MM). Only the Indians, with Justin Masterson, Michael Brantley, and Josh Tomlin (in addition to Pestano), have more than one outstanding arbitration case.