SUNDAY: The list of teams interested in Cashner is close to 10, writes Heyman. That includes the previously reported Marlins, who have discussed many of their top prospects – including first baseman Josh Naylor – with the Padres, Heyman hears. The surging Astros are also in the Cashner sweepstakes.
SATURDAY, 11:51am: The Marlins are also still discussing Cashner with the Padres, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
10:17am: The Giants have also checked in on Cashner, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link), though San Francisco is more focused on adding bullpen help before the deadline. The Dodgers don’t appear to be in the mix for Cashner as they “seem to be aiming even higher” for a rotation upgrade, which Heyman speculates could be Chris Sale or one of the Rays’ starting pitchers. In another Heyman tweet, he writes that the Orioles and Blue Jays are thought to be the leaders for Upton, though the two clubs are also exploring bigger deals that could involve Upton and other Padres changing teams.
8:48am: The Orioles are chasing two high-profile names from the Padres, as they are looking at Melvin Upton and Andrew Cashner in separate trade talks, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Reports surfaced yesterday that the O’s and Padres were discussing a swap that would’ve sent Ubaldo Jimenez and a prospect to San Diego for Upton. That deal would be something of a fit of large contracts, whereas for Cashner, Rosenthal notes that San Diego is asking for two prospects.
Interestingly, Baltimore isn’t the only AL East team linked to these two Padres stars, as the Blue Jays have also discussed Upton and Cashner with San Diego, Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The Padres are trying to get the division rivals into a bidding war over Upton, though it isn’t certain if Toronto would have interest in the outfielder if Cashner wasn’t part of the deal. Even the Cashner talks with Toronto may not have much momentum, as Rosenthal notes that the Jays and Padres have differing opinions on Cashner’s value.
As of yesterday, the Padres were telling other teams that they were close to finalizing an Upton trade, which at the time was perceived as a possible negotiating tactic on the Friars’ part. A rival official for a team not interested in Upton observed to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Padres were “trying to get someone else to bite before they are forced to send him to the one club ready to move on him.”
Given Rosenthal’s subsequent tweets, it would seem that Toronto could be the “someone else” in that description while the O’s could be the more eager suitor for Upton’s services. Then again, Upton makes sense as an outfield upgrade on a few different contenders. For instance, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that the Indians have also talked to the Padres about Upton over the last few weeks, though nothing is close on that front.
Of the three teams mentioned, the Orioles would seem to have the clearest need for Upton given their left field void (as both Joey Rickard and Hyun Soo Kim are on the DL), plus Upton could also provide cover in center behind Adam Jones. Jimenez’s contract also helps offset the large amount of money still owed on Upton’s contract, as the outfielder is set to earn $16.45MM in 2017 and roughly $5.31MM remaining this season; Cleveland and Toronto don’t have any Jimenez-esque large salaries that could be dealt to create payroll space.
The uncertainty surrounding Michael Brantley’s status could certainly put Cleveland in the market for outfield help, though the Tribe have been getting some very solid contributions from their current outfield mix of Tyler Naquin, Jose Ramirez, Rajai Davis and Lonnie Chisenhall. The Blue Jays are pretty set in the outfield with Michael Saunders, Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista (who could return from the DL as early as Monday), so Upton doesn’t really have a regular spot. Toronto could use Edwin Encarnacion more regularly at first to get Upton into left field and Saunders at DH, depending on matchups.
Cashner, meanwhile, has been linked to several teams in need of rotation help. The O’s don’t have a terribly deep minor league system, and while Cashner wouldn’t necessarily command top-tier prospects in return, it’s still possible Baltimore could be outbid by another suitor (such as the Rangers) who simply have more quality minor leaguers to offer. Cashner fits as a big upgrade for the Orioles’ struggling pitching staff, and he also fits in Toronto given that Aaron Sanchez may yet be moved to the bullpen to control his innings.