The time has come for the San Diego Padres and Andrew Cashner to part ways. The right handed pitcher is well aware of the fact he will most likely be traded and it really isn’t a secret. He recently told the press that he fully expects to be dealt before the August 1 deadline.
There are still some reports and feelings that the team could hold on to Cashner and slap a qualifying offer on him. He would most likely reject the offer and sign somewhere else long-term earning the Padres a second first round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. There are a lot of question marks around this theory though.
Cashner would most definitely have to remain healthy and he would have to walk away from a 2017 potential salary of $16 million from the Padres. That is what the qualifying offer looks to be next season. That is a hefty salary and he is no guarantee to walk away from it. However Cashner will probably be the most coveted free agent pitcher on the market this winter. There really isn’t much else to choose from. That fact alone pretty much guarantees some team will give him a multiple year deal eclipsing what he could earn in a one year offer from the Padres via the QO.
He will walk away if given the chance, that is not the major issue. The issue is his health and ability to stay consistent. If the Padres decide to hold onto Cashner and not trade him, he would have to continue to be productive in order to be considered for a QO. If the team keeps him and he goes down with injury in August and is out for the year, the team will have a hard time giving him the offer. Especially knowing that other teams will not want to give him a multiple year deal with recent health concerns. Cashner is an enigma and there is no easy answer.
At this point the team is going to shop him hard and attempt to gain value worth more than a potential first round pick next year. In other words they want a decent prospect for the big Texan. Preller wants the house and a package deal might be the ultimate answer. If he can package Cashner with Derek Norris or Ryan Buchter then he might get the prospects he desires. Let’s take a look at five potential teams of interest.
This team is a dream trade partner for the Padres. Cashner would love pitching in him home state and the Rangers need starting pitching really bad. The mostly left-handed staff would benefit from the right handed power pitcher Cashner is. He is in the last year of his contract with the Padres, but there have been whispers that the Rangers could explore a long-term extension with Cashner fairly easily. Jon Daniels and his connection to A.J. Preller is also quite obvious. The fact these two teams have not traded since Will Venable was dealt to the Rangers late last season for Jon Edwards and Marcus Greene Jr. makes you wonder. There is a lot of smoke to these two teams matching up. Will there ever be a fire?
The Rangers have obvious top-notch players like Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar who are blocked at the major league level. A deal makes sense but Cashner by himself would not land either player. A package including a catcher (preferably Derek Norris) might be a decent starting point for one of them though. The Padres would have to ante up if they want Profar and/or Gallo. It would take moving a player like Austin Hedges, Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe or Manuel Margot to acquire these young players from the Rangers. We all now that isn’t going to happen unless the Padres determine moving Hedges is the only answer to maximize returns. Names like Yohander Mendez, Andy Ibanez and Travis Demeritte also make sense on the Rangers, but it remains to be seen if these teams can get a deal done. Cashner and the Rangers could hook up after the season even if he isn’t dealt there, as Texas is a perfect fit for the right handed pitcher.
If there is one other team who has to be seen as the favorite to land Cashner other than the Rangers, the Astros has to be the team. The Astros are nother Texas team and a team that is in need of starting pitching. They have had a sub par year so far from Dallas Keuchel and could use Cashner, especially in a playoff series. The Astros and Rangers are battling it out for the American League West division and the two teams could get into a bidding war for Cashner and his services. The Astros like the Rangers also have need at catcher and could be a likely landing spot for Derek Norris. A package deal with Cashner could be enticing for the Astros, but what kind of return can be expected? The Astros have a very deep farm system and the two teams have discussed trades in the past. Before the Padres dealt Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox, the Astros were reportedly very interested but refused to match the Red Sox generous 4 for 1 offer.
The Astros have some prospects that could interest the Padres. Names like Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Tony Kemp and Jandel Gustave make sense. Musgrove is a local prep pitcher who is having an outstanding year and is seemingly major league ready. The 23-year-old right hander is 6-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts in the minors this year. He participated in the Future’s Game at the All-Star break and has a very nice future in the league. Kemp is a gritty utility type player, who really has no position on the Astros. He made his major league debut this season after hitting .312 in Triple-A. Colin Moran is a third baseman who made his major league debut this season as well for the Astros. The 23-year-old left-handed hitter has a decent swing. Jandel Gustave is a pitcher whom the Padres claimed late last Spring. He has a lively arm and the franchise has already shown interest in him. These two teams are a great match and there should be more talks between the two clubs regarding Cashner and Norris at the very least. Stay tuned.
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