The Boston Red Sox acquired starting pitcher Andrew Cashner in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.
As reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles will pay the Red Sox $1.78 million as part of this deal. Sean McAdam stated that Baltimore will cover ‘most’ of any performance-related bonuses that Cashner earns in the remainder of 2019. Trading Cashner also gets the Orioles away from his 2020 vesting option – he is guaranteed $10 million if he pitches a total of 340 innings over the 2018 and 2019 seasons (he’s currently on 249.1 innings).
The Red Sox sent two minor leaguers to their division rival in this deal in infielder Noelberth Romero and outfielder Elio Prado. Two 17-year-olds, Prado and Romero are down in the Dominican Summer League at the moment. Prado has impressed, posting an OPS over .800, while Romero is still looking to develop some power at the plate. They’re a long, long way off being Major League players, but that fits with the Orioles’ timeline. Romero and Prado are wildcards, and getting this sort of return for Cashner has to be considered a good outcome for Baltimore.
Rosenthal added on Fox Sports that Cashner will slot in the Red Sox’s troublesome fifth rotation spot with flamethrower Nathan Eovaldi heading to the bullpen on his return from injury. Should the Red Sox make the postseason, Cashner will likely move to the bullpen.
Ultimately, this isn’t a deal that will inspire great excitement, and Cashner’s less than impressive advanced numbers will concern some. As mentioned in our recent article about starters the Red Sox could acquire, though, Cashner is a good halfway house. He provides an upgrade at the backend without giving up notable prospects. His arrival might not make the difference between being a playoff team and not, but it’s proactive from Dave Dombrowski, and he’ll keep them competitive every fifth day, hopefully eating innings. Making Eovaldi the closer is a bonus, too.
With Boston’s current window, letting Romero and Prado go doesn’t matter too much. The Red Sox’s assistant general manager Eddie Romero summed the trade up nicely, “I know these guys are far off, but it hurt. When they were coming up with these names, they weren’t guys that we were hoping they’d asked for, but when an opportunity comes to help out the big league team with a starting pitcher, it’s tough to say no.” (Quote from Alex Speier.)
The Red Sox needed something before the trade deadline. It might not be a blockbuster trade, but it’s the sort of deal that can help teams out in the second half, and could prove to be a difference maker as they pursue a wildcard spot.