When the San Diego Padres dealt a young phenom first baseman in Anthony Rizzo, they envisioned Andrew Cashner as a true ace of the pitching staff. The January 2012 trade has proven to be a complete disaster for the Padres. Anthony Rizzo has taken his game to an astronomical level and is a super star Major League player while Andrew Cashner has been nothing but average for the San Diego Padres.
To this day the trade itself still leaves a very horrible taste in Padres fans mouth. Andrew Cashner is a solid pitcher. He has great stuff. It’s just that Rizzo looks to be a hall-of-fame caliber first base man and the Padres essentially lost Adrian Gonzalez and Anthony Rizzo in return for Cashner and Casey Kelly.
The first base position has been a hole since the team decided Yonder Alonso was its first baseman of the future and not Anthony Rizzo. No disrespect to Alonso, but he just isn’t a prototypical first baseman. Alonso is average at best at first base defensively (his foot work gets him in trouble a lot) and he lacks the power needed from a traditionally power hitting position. Being a right handed thrower also limits his defensive abilities.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Yonder Alonso a lot. He gives quality at bats while in the box. He has a great line drive swing and his value lies as a contact hitter with a high average. When he gets into trouble is when he tries to drive the ball out of the ball park. It’s a tangled web. The team needs more power from him, but his best bet is to go up there and hit line drives.
Quite frankly Yonder is not a good fit on the Padres at the moment. If the team had more power all around its lineup, then Alonso would not try to drive the ball. Things change, so Yonder could very easily be in the Padres plans for the future. The team has a lot of decisions to make. The emergence of Wil Myers at first base also makes Yonder expendable. We will see what A.J. Preller intends to do at first base for the future of this ball club. He could go in many different ways depending on several factors. Perhaps we could even see Yonder play some third base for the team.
Andrew Cashner is fresh off a 6-16 2015 season where he had an unimpressive 4.34 ERA and an even more unimpressive WHIP of 1.440. Cashner did stay healthy the whole season and for the first time as a Padres player, did not miss a start in the rotation. His health has always been an issue for Cashner, so him pitching the whole year with no issues is a great thing for the Padres. However Cashner continues to be disappointing on the mound, and his inconsistency can be maddening to watch for Padres fans.
Cashner has a fastball that tops out at 100 MPH. He also has a decent change-up and a very nice slider. With a repertoire like that, he should be flat-out dominating, not just an average pitcher. For some reason he just has not turned the corner with his consistencies. Cashner’s career record is 26-42 and he has a 3.59 ERA with a 1.272 WHIP. In 594 innings pitched Cashner has struck out only 496 batters. With the stuff Cashner has, he should easily strike out a batter an inning. Quite simply… batters are putting his pitches in play far too often for him to be successful. He needs to do a better job of finishing of hitters when he gets ahead in the count.
The 2016 season will be the last year Andrew Cashner will be under team control. He is scheduled for free agency after the season. He has not shown much interest in re-signing long-term in San Diego, so that in itself will probably lead to him being dealt. The problem is his value is really low right now. A 16 loss season has hurt his value and it is not clear what he could fetch in return via trade. He has an exceptional arm and does have some value.
Andrew Cashner made $4.05 million last year in salary and will probably get a minor raise this season. He is a modestly priced power pitcher. The problem is he less than 1 year from free agency. It seems inevitable that the team will part ways with the big Texan. A.J. Preller will surely be fielding many calls this winter and Cashner’s name will obviously come up in many trade talks. Let’s see if anyone pays the price for him.