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Preller has already traded off lefty Drew Pomeranz and veteran James Shields. He’s in full rebuild mode and is more concerned with accumulating prospects than with his team’s current performance on the field. Thus, all of his marketable assets are on the table. Given the high price for starting pitching at the trading deadline, I’d be shocked if Cashner doesn’t change uniforms.
The 29-year-old Cashner is in the final year of his contract ($7.15 million), and hasn’t enjoyed a good season (4-7, 4.79 ERA in 73.1 IP with a 7.5 K/9). However, Cashner was very good in 2013-14, compiling a 2.87 ERA in 45 starts for the Padres.
Cashner hasn’t been quite the same since, with a 4.34 ERA in 184.2 innings in 2015, and his poor start to the 2016 season. Yet, obtaining Cashner is something of a bet on his stuff, which is much better than his results. Cashner’s fastball still sits comfortably at 95 mph, and he can dial it up into the 97 mph range.
Cashner isn’t a big strikeout guy, with a 7.5 K/9. However, in his outstanding 2013-14 run, he struck out even fewer hitters (6.7 K/9). Instead, he relied on his power sinker to get guys to hit the ball on the ground.
To be honest, Cashner’s price would be less than pretty much every pitcher on this list given A.J. Preller’s motivation to sell and Cashner’s sub-par performance the last two seasons. Yet, he’s an upside play due to his stuff, and the Padres poor defense. The hope is that Cashner could get inspired by playing for a contender rather than the moribund Padres.
The problem is, the rumor mill hasn’t indicated that the KC Royals are scouting the Padres or that they’re talking with the Padres. While the two teams have concluded a deal, (Preller’s first deal as Padres GM involved flipping Rey Fuentes to the Kansas City Royals for Kyle Bartsch), nothing seems to be on the burner now.
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