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Orioles Pleased With Andrew Cashner Addition, But Rotation Holes Remain

February 16, 2018
SARASOTA, Fla. -- For now, right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner's addition means the Orioles have nine starters for spring training games. The day before Cashner signed, manager Buck Showalter had listed eight starters for Grapefruit League games, which begin Feb. 23.
Cashner joins fellow right-handers Dylan Bundy, Miguel Castro, Kevin Gausman, Hunter Harvey, Mike Wright and Gabriel Ynoa, as well as Rule 5 picks Nestor Cortes, the only left-hander in the bunch, and Jose Mesa in the spring rotation.
Cashner, who will report Feb. 18 and be on hand for the first full-squad workout Feb. 19, has generated a lot of positive reaction around the Orioles' complex.
"I've gotten some feedback from five or six of the guys that obviously are going to be on the club," manager Buck Showalter said. "I got some comments from a lot of the guys, and they're excited about his addition."
One of those is right-hand reliever Brad Brach, who played with Cashner on the San Diego Padres in 2012 and 2013.
"He's a competitor, man," Brach said. "When he goes out there, there's not many guys that I've seen out there and as fired [up] as he is.
"He wants to have the ball. That's the kind of guy you want on your team. That's for sure. I was with him when he was a bullpen guy, and the stuff he has is electric. … Yeah, I think it's a really good pickup for us, and he's going to be a competitor, and he's going to pitch really well this year."

Cashner's deal is for two years and $16 million, and he could add another year and up to $15 million for 2020 if certain incentives are met.
"I know from the club perspective it's a good fit," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "It gives him an opportunity to pitch and earn some money, and the terms are good for the team, reasonable for the team. I thought it was a fair deal. We try to do fair deals, market deals, and I think this looks to be a fair deal. There is some upside for the player where he can continue to earn money if he's healthy and pitching effectively for the team, and that's usually a good deal for the team, too." 
A year ago, Cashner went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers. It was his first season in the American League.
"Andrew Cashner put it together last year," Duquette said. "He'd been a pitcher of good potential. What I like most about it is he has the pitches. He has several quality major league pitches, and at the end of the day, that's what gets hitters out. Pitches get the hitters out, and he has several quality pitches that he can utilize."
Cashner joins Bundy and Gausman as established major league starters. The Orioles seem eager to give Castro the opportunity to start, but ideally would like to add a left-hander to the rotation.
One of the left-handers the team was considering, Jason Vargas, signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the New York Mets Feb. 16.
Another, Jaime Garcia, signed a one-year, $10 million deal with Toronto this week, and former Oriole Wade Miley signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee Feb. 15. Drew Hutchison, who was also linked with the Orioles, signed a minor league contract with Philadelphia this week, too.
The best known left-hander still on the market is probably Francisco Liriano, a 34-year-old who has pitched for five teams in 12 major league seasons.
Some of the biggest names remain unsigned -- Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn -- but they're all right-handed and could be out of the Orioles' price range. Chris Tillman, who pitched for the Orioles for the last nine seasons, is still a free agent, too.
"There's a few more pitchers on the market," Duquette said. "I think you're going to see a number of pitchers sign this weekend. It's that time, right?"

Follow Rich on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox