Posted on July 13, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The post-all-star-break trade season is officially underway, and it’s the defending champion Boston Red Sox who broke the ice. Saturday night, the Red Sox finalized a trade with the Baltimore Orioles for starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. In exchange for Cashner, the Orioles will receive minor leaguers Noelberth Romero and Elio Prado. Both are 17-year-olds who are currently playing in the Dominican Summer League.
Heading into the break, the Red Sox were reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher and preferred to get one sooner rather than later. That impatience came to fruition with the move to get Cashner. While he may not be the best starting pitcher who ends up getting traded this month, Cashner is a trusted veteran who will immediately fill the fifth spot in Boston’s rotation.
“We think every game is important,” said Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. “We really have scuffled in that fifth spot to get innings. This changes that at this point. We’re embarking on a really important part of our schedule. That was important. We wouldn’t have made a deal that we didn’t feel comfortable making. I think we have a good pulse on who’s available and not available at this time.”
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The Red Sox have struggled to fill the fifth spot in their rotation for most of the season. Nathan Eovaldi was lost to injury four starts into the season and is yet to return. Boston also plans to use Eovaldi out of the bullpen when he’s ready to come back, leaving that fifth spot in the rotation vacant. The Red Sox have auditioned a handful of internal candidates for that spot, but none have claimed it for their own.
The 32-year-old Cashner should have no trouble filling out Boston’s rotation. He’s bounced back nicely this season after a dreadful year for the Orioles in 2018. After going 4-15 with a 5.29 ERA a year ago, Cashner is 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts with Baltimore this year. He’s been one of the few bright spots on a terrible Orioles team this year. After some rough outings in May, Cashner responded with a 1.44 ERA over four starts in June. He was also sharp in his last outing prior to the all-star break.
“As far as what we like, he’s been throwing the ball well,” Dombrowski said of Cashner. “Been in the big leagues for a long time. He’s throwing the ball as well as he probably ever has at this point, maybe not velocity-wise, because he was a very hard thrower earlier in his career.”
The Orioles will also pay a portion of Cashner’s salary for the rest of the season. The Red Sox will also inherit a $10 million option on Cashner for next season. That option could vest if Cashner throws 90.1 innings the rest of the season, which is possible but not a given.
Of course, the Red Sox will worry think about Cashner’s future with the team later. Right now, they are hoping he can help them get back to the postseason. The Red Sox are a distant nine games back in the AL East, but only 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. If Cashner continues to pitch the way he has this season, he could go a long way toward helping the Red Sox defend their crown in October.
“He’s excited to be here, excited to pitch, excited to join the club, be part of a pennant race,” said Dombrowski. “we’re trying to win. We have a chance to win. We know we have to play better.”