The Orioles added some much-needed pitching depth on Thursday by signing Andrew Cashner to a two-year deal. While the deal makes perfect sense in the real baseball world, the move just about kills Cashner’s fantasy value.
The 31-year-old righty didn’t allow many runs last season and posted a 3.40 ERA. The problem is that his peripheral stats pointed to something much worse, as his ERA estimators were near 5.00. Of the 60 pitchers who threw at least 160 innings last year, his 4.6 K/9 ranked 59th (Ty Blach at 4.0 K/9). Additionally, his walk rate (3.5 BB/9) was the 9th highest. The only way for pitchers to survive with these pathetic stats is to possess an extreme flyball or groundball rate. Cashner’s rates are right near the league average.
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Owners should not expect anything near a 3.40 ERA in 2018. Cashner’s ERAs from 2015 (4.34) and 2016 (5.25) are the most likely outcome. Camden Yards is an extreme home run park, and he will face the loaded Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays lineups on a regular basis. His 589 ADP seems about right since he has no expectations. He’s going to give the Orioles some innings, but the results are likely to be horrible.
Trivia time: Besides Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman, who are the Orioles’ other starters? If you knew, congrats for being an Orioles fan. For everyone else, the lack of Baltimore pitching depth means Cashner has a guaranteed rotation spot to get shelled every five days. There were zero reasons to own Cashner in a standard league before he signed, and the reasons just got fewer.
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