Boston Red Sox

Red Sox make sneaky good rotation addition in Andrew Cashner

Andrew Cashner is not a big name, but he might be just what the Boston Red Sox need.

In need of pitching, but not necessarily willing to take on salary in trades, the Boston Red Sox made a deal on Saturday. According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Boston has acquired Andrew Cashner and cash from the Baltimore Orioles for prospects Elio Prado and Noelberth Romero.

Cashner had a rough 2018 for the Orioles, with a 5.29 ERA and sub-par peripherals (5.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 5.32 FIP) to back it up. But he has pitched solidly this year, with a 3.83 ERA (121 ERA+, 4.25 FIP), a 1.19 WHIP, 66 strikeouts and 29 walks over 96.1 innings. Over his last five starts, he has a 1.41 ERA while going at least six innings in each outing.

Over 17 starts this season, Cashner has gone at least five innings while allowing three earned runs or less 13 times. In today’s game, he has given his team a chance to win on a regular basis. There is one big chink in his armor, with remarkably fortunate BABIP (.256) that seems prime for an aggressive correction to go with a lack of high-end swing and miss stuff. That said, a ground ball rate north of 49 percent should play nicely in Fenway Park and the defense behind him will be better.

Cashner will immediately slot into Boston’s starting rotation, with his debut coming Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Boston’s bullpen has been a point of weakness so far this year, and team president Dave Dombrowski cited how Cashner can indirectly help.

The Orioles threw in some money to offset what Cashner could be owed beyond $9.5 million in salary and prorated signing bonus this year. He has already collected $500,000 for getting to 10 and 15 starts ($250,000 each) this year, according to Spotrac, with $625,000 coming to him when he makes his 20th start and $400,000 for his 30th start. He also has bonuses for reaching 110-200 innings, at 10-inning intervals starting at $250,000 (for 110 and 120) and going to $275,000 (for 130), $350,000 (for 40), $750,000 (for 150) and $400,000 (for 170,180, 190 and 200).

Cashner also has a $10 million club option for next year. But it has a minimal chance of vetting, since he needs nearly 100 innings from here on out this year to reach the two-year total required (340).

Next: MLB Rumors: 5 trade targets for the Houston Astros

Boston gave up two 17-year old prospects who are not in their organizational top-30 (according to MLB Pipeline) for Cashner, and Baltimore covered the extra costs attached to him this year (and presumably more). While not an earth-shattering move, Cashner is a solid and sneaky good addition to the Red Sox pitching staff.

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