By Jason Shetler
So far this offseason, the Pirates have added a couple starters to the rotation with Jon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong. Niese will essentially take the place of Charlie Morton while Vogelsong is going to pitch near the back end. Despite the additions, the Pirates could look to bring in another starter. They had been interested in Scott Kazmir, but appear to be out of the running now since the asking price is probably too high. Other free agent starters who the Bucs have been linked to are Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo. During the Winter Meetings, the Pirates were reportedly in talks with the Los Angeles Angels regarding C.J. Wilson. That would seem unlikely, as Wilson is owed $20 million for next season. Looking at other realistic trade options, the one starter who would make the most sense is Andrew Cashner.
The San Diego Padres were extremely aggressive last offseason in an effort to bring in big name players. Outside of the Washington Nationals, the Padres were the biggest disappointment in 2015, as they lost 88 games while finishing fourth in the NL West. This offseason, the Padres seem to be uncertain which direction they’re headed in, especially after losing Justin Upton to free agency, and trading Craig Kimbrel to the Boston Red Sox for a package of prospects. Cashner is someone who definitely could be on the trade block. Here were his numbers from this past season.
4.34 ERA, 84 ERA+, 3.85 FIP, 1.44 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 2.3 WAR in 31 starts
Cashner didn’t have a great year in 2015, but he wasn’t bad either. While the ERA is a tad bit on the high side, his Fielding Independent Pitching was better as you can see. He’s only a year removed from putting up a stellar 2.55 ERA. Cashner continues to be a hard-throwing starter with an average fastball velocity of 94.8 mph. His groundball rate this past season was pretty good at 47%. Cashner will become a free agent after 2016, so the Pirates shouldn’t have to trade a ton to get him. The projected arbitration figure for Cashner this offseason is at $7 million, which would be a real bargain for a starter who can be a solid #3 in the rotation.