GM Mode: Texas Rangers bolster rotation by acquiring Andrew Cashner

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BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 29: Andrew Cashner #54 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches in the second inning during a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 29, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 29: Andrew Cashner #54 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches in the second inning during a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 29, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers could be in the market for pitching depth this trade season. It wouldn’t hurt to inquire on starting pitcher Andrew Cashner.

The trade rumors will be coming your way soon. Still in the playoff picture, the Texas Rangers may be in the buyer’s market, with a keen eye on starting pitching. They love their #1 and #2 starters, but their rotation lacks depth and experience. That’s why a veteran pitcher who is in the middle of a nice season could be a great acquisition. 32-year-old Andrew Cashner could be of interest.

Why Cashner?

First and foremost, he’s pitching really well this year. Over 16 starts, he has an 8-3 record and 4.03 ERA. That record is rather impressive considering he plays for the worst team in Major League Baseball, and a team that has an abysmal -170 run differential.

In addition, Cashner has held opposing hitters to a .241 batting average and has allowed just 1.1 home runs per nine innings. Camden Yards is one of the toughest ballparks to pitch in. He’s without a doubt managed it well as a sinkerball pitcher.

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DENVER, COLORADO – MAY 25: Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner #54 of the Baltimore Orioles throws in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 25, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The big right-hander had arguably the best season of his career in 2017 with the Texas Rangers. He contributed 166.2 innings, as well as a 3.40 ERA and 0.8 HR/9 rate. His 142 ERA+ was and still is a career high. Past success in Texas could mean future success in Texas.

Cashner is under contract with Baltimore through this season, though he has a vesting option for 2020. Should this hypothetical trade actually occur, the Rangers could bring him back for the 2020 season, which would be ideal as they wait for their top pitching prospects to further develop.

Ultimately, Texas would be getting a player that can eat innings and keep his team in games. Cashner would give the rotation extra oomph, hopefully helping the Rangers to a postseason berth.

What is Cashner worth?

The Orioles are going to try to soak up every drip of value for the players they place on the market. Thus, they may ask for more for Cashner than the Texas Rangers are willing to give up. He may be the ace on Baltimore’s staff; however, he’d weigh in as a number three or four starter on most staffs — keep that in mind.

Realistically, a 32-year-old slightly above average starting pitcher is worth a mid-level prospect or two. The O’s need help basically everywhere, as they are lacking in big league talent and prospect talent.

The Rangers have a lot of pitching depth in their system. They also have a few minor league infielders and outfielders in their list of top 30 prospects that may be expendable.

Perhaps #20 prospect A.J. Alexy could be the primary name in a Rangers’ return package. Alexy is a hard-throwing right-hander with a plus breaking ball. He has a high-potential frame and isn’t expected to debut in the big leagues until 2021, which is about when the Orioles should start to turn in a positive direction.

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Texas may need to toss in another decent prospect to seal the deal, but whatever they give up should be in no way crippling to the farm. If the Rangers do commit to buying this month, a Cashner acquisition would be in their wheelhouse.

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