Orioles general manager Mike Elias suggested in late June it would be difficult for the starter-starved club to part with either Dylan Bundy or Andrew Cashner prior to the July 31 trade deadline. However, at least in Cashner’s case, Baltimore “certainly would” part with the right-hander, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Elias has been “checking the Cashner market for quite a while,” Kubatko adds.
The Orioles obviously haven’t found a taker for Cashner yet, though he has upped his value with a resurgent year. After Cashner’s disastrous 2018, his first season as an Oriole, it would have been difficult to envision him emerging as a trade chip this summer. But the 32-year-old has come out of the gates this season with a 3.83 ERA/4.26 FIP, 6.17 K/9 against 2.71 BB/9, and a 49.2 percent groundball rate in 96 1/3 innings. Cashner turned in his fifth consecutive quality start Saturday, throwing seven innings of one-run ball in Toronto.
Cashner’s success in 2019 has come thanks in part to an ability to stymie opposite-handed hitters, whom he has limited to a paltry .229 weighted on-base average. At the same time, Cashner has held enemy lineups to a .273 wOBA the first time through the order, a .311 mark the second time and a .312 figure the third time. Cashner’s better output has come with an increase in velocity. He averaged 92.4 mph on his fastball a year ago, but the number has revisited its 93.5 mph mean from 2017 – a season in which he defied uninspiring peripherals to post a 3.40 ERA with the Rangers. He landed a two-year, $16MM deal from the O’s the next winter as a result.
Cashner’s on track to reach free agency again during the upcoming offseason, and he is owed approximately $3.7MM of his current $8MM salary in the meantime. Considering Cashner is not a major difference-maker at this stage of his career, Baltimore might have to eat some of his remaining money to augment his trade value in the next few weeks. If Cashner keeps pitching well until then, though, he may indeed end the season with a playoff contender.