Report: Jays interested in Andrew Cashner (as a reliever)

Andrew Cashner
Photo credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Heyman has a somewhat interesting one for us this afternoon, though it involves a name we’ve heard a whole bunch of times before:

I’m didn’t know guys struggling to hack it in the Padres rotation were entitled to make such demands! *COUGH*

A right-handed power arm, Cashner is not quite as powerful as he once was, with his fastball sitting at just 93.6 this season, down from 94.8 last year (which was about where he sat the previous two years as well). Perhaps as a result, he’s produced an even more mixed bag of results for San Diego than usual. He’s given up just three earned runs total over three of his last four starts, but in the fourth one he gave up eight (!). Before that he was on the DL with a neck injury, and prior to that stint he had been decidedly mediocre (or worse, given that his home park is spacious, pitcher-friendly Petco): after his June 4th start his ERA stood at 4.78, with his FIP and xFIP in line with that, and he’d struck out just 35 over 52.2 innings, while walking 22.

Those aren’t exactly inspiring numbers, but his previous three seasons had been quite a bit better. And in 2012, when he pitched primarily out of the bullpen, his stuff played up. That year his fastball sat at 97.7, as he produced a swinging strike rate of 12.2% (compared to the 7.1% he’s at this year), and struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings, compared to 7.5 this season.

Assuming his stuff still will play up like that out of the ‘pen, on a good team, Cashner looks a whole lot like a reliever to me.

And on a team that needs either relief help or rotation help, depending on what they ultimately choose to do with Aaron Sanchez, he actually seems like he might be a fit.

To wit: I think he’d be a significantly better reliever than Drew Hutchison (whose stuff doesn’t play up the same way), and likely at least as good a starter, if that’s what they end up needing him for.

Cashner is a free agent at the end of this season, and perhaps his dreams of a big payday are partly behind the fact that Heyman suggests he’d bristle at the idea of moving to relief. But what that also means is that he’s not going to be terribly expensive, in terms of the prospects that will be required to meet the Padres’ demands in trade. The Jays would likely prefer not to waste much of their prospect capital on anyone who isn’t going to be here beyond the end of this season, but you do see why this would work for them at the right price.

Provided, that is, they could get Cashner to buy in as far as being a reliever goes. And, y’know, that San Francisco, or some “mystery team” — the Heyman special! — doesn’t make the Padres a better offer.

Still, though, at least they’re not the ones blowing their brains out to add Aroldis Chapman to a roster that was already good enough to win it all anyway, amiright?