The Orioles have finally made a pertinent move this offseason by signing veteran RHP Andrew Cashner. The deal is for 2 years and $16 million guaranteed. The deal could eventually be worth 3 years and $41 million if certain conditions and incentives are earned. Cashner figures to immediately slot into the #3 spot in the Orioles rotation behind Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.
Cashner pitched to a 3.40 ERA last season in 166.2 innings. He had an above average 48.6% ground ball percentage which figures to play well at Camden Yards. The ERA should be a welcome sign for Orioles fans as nobody on the team last year posted an ERA under 4 on their way to a club history worst 5.70 ERA.
Some things of concern about Cashner was his career low 4.6 strikeouts per 9 innings last year. His average fastball velocity did also appear to dip to 93.4 down slightly from his average of 94.5 but did appear to peak up some as the season progressed as this chart from Fangraphs shows.
Cashner’s slider did increase an average of 1.5 MPH. He also used it a career low 12% last season which is down from his 20.8% in 2016. The fact his velocity has not dipped on his other pitches and his fastball has not severely dropped off should provide no worry to Orioles fans at the moment.
Cashner also brings with him a horrendous win percentage as a starter. In his 8 years in the league, Cashner has a winning percentage of .396% (42-64). Wins, however, are not always indicative of the pitchers performance and should be taken with a grain of salt
Cashner instantly improves an Orioles pitching staff that held them back in 2017. This is a great start for the Orioles as they continue to try and improve their roster. While Cashner does not make them World Series favorites, it does move the needle closer towards them being able to compete for a playoff spot. Adding one more solid starter, such as Jason Vargas, Lance Lynn, or Alex Cobb, would go a long way to making it a more realistic opportunity. As last season showed with the Orioles still in contention for a playoff spot until September, they do not need a staff of aces. They simply need an average staff to go along with their potent lineup.