Fixer upper. 34 comments

Work in progress Andrew Cashner brings his 5.25 ERA to the American League.

Work in progress Andrew Cashner brings his 5.25 ERA to the American League.


At the trade deadline this past July, the Rangers were looking at pitcher Andrew Cashner. Pitching coach Doug Brocail said he could “fix” him.

Yesterday, the Rangers reportedly signed Cashner to a one-year $10 million deal. Brocail is going to need a really big tool box.

Cashner is coming off a bad season. A monumentally bad season.

He started 27 games in 2016 for two teams, the Padres and Marlins. Overall, he was 5-11, with a woeful 5.25 ERA. His WHIP was 1.530, but with Miami it was 1.747. That means he allows nearly two baserunners an inning. He averaged fewer than five innings per start, making him the quintessential innings eater—of your bullpen. In his 27 starts, he made it into the sixth inning only nine times, and never saw the seventh inning.

He is the spill you need a mop up guy for.

The deal hasn’t been formally announced by the Rangers yet, though. But one rarely brags about taking the last girl left in the bar home for the night.

Only three starting pitchers had uglier ERAs than Cashner in 2016: Wade Miley, 5.37; Edinson Voquez, 5.37; and James Shields, 5.85. Neck, hamstring and blister problems dogged him in 2016.

To translate his season in Rangerese, Cashner was Lucas Harrell. But look on the bright side, he’s not Kyle Lohse.

In all fairness, Cashner hasn’t always been horrible. He came up with the Cubs in 2010 and was primarily used out of the bullpen his two season with Chicago and his first season with San Diego in 2012. (The Cubs traded him to the Padres for Anthony Rizzo.)

In 2013, the Padres converted him to a starter with good results. He put up an ERA of 3.09 with San Diego and looked liked he was on his way to something good. But elbow, shoulder and then neck injuries derailed him in 2014. Despite that, he sported a really impressive ERA of 2.55.

Then the bottom fell out.

In 2015, he was 6-16 with a 4.34 ERA for the Padres. Then, of course, there was this season. A season where his fastball velocity is slowly disappearing. When he came up in 2010, he was hitting 98 and 99, and even clocked at over 100 MPH in 2012. This year it sat at 94/95. Opposing hitters teed off on his fastball. And left-handed batters hit .291 against him in 2016.

Other numbers worth looking at, with your eyes wide shut: In 2016, opposing batters hit .261 off his fastball, .286 off his sinker, .289 off his change-up and .400 off his curveball.

Now he is a Ranger. He’s a right-handed pitcher who comes to Arlington with career numbers very similar to Derek Holland, who Brocail wasn’t able to fix, and who is best suited as a spot starter and long reliever. But you don’t pay a guy ten million dollars for that. You pay him to start.

Brocail has his work cut out for him. On paper his rotation just got a lot worse.