Rangers sign Andrew Cashner for one year, $10 million

The Texas Rangers and starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, 30, have agreed to terms on a one-year deal that will pay the right-hander $10 million in 2017. It’s the first significant money the Rangers have spent so far this offseason.

Cashner has logged 726.1 IP over parts of six seasons (all in the National League), posting a career 3.89 ERA (3.85 FIP) with a 19.7% strikeout rate and 8.3% walk rate. Since 2013, where he’s thrown the overwhelming bulk of his career workload (615 IP), Andrew has posted a similar 3.82 ERA (3.77 FIP).

He’s basically a two-win pitcher, slightly better than league average and someone the Rangers can slot in as their 4th starter. Injuries have been a theme throughout Cashner’s major league tenure, as he has yet to produce a 200 inning season. Texas will hope he can generate a little upside, but at $10 million for one year it’s hard to find much fault in that logic. Particularly considering just how bleak this year’s free agent class is.

Behind the Insider paywall Keith Law ranked Andrew Cashner his 39th-best free agent this winter.

Another way to look at this signing is, essentially, the Rangers swapped Cashner for Derek Holland’s spot in the rotation. About a week ago they declined Holland’s $11 million option, instead choosing to buy him out for $1.5 million. Add that to what they are paying Cashner, and it comes out to $11.5 million — as opposed to $11 million to keep Derek in the fold.

Apropos of nothing, just something I found kind of funny, is Andrew Cashner has never played for a team that finished the regular season with a record above .500. Below are the records of the teams he has played for, even if only for a few innings:

2010 Cubs: 75-87
2011 Cubs: 71-91
2012 Padres: 76-86
2013 Padres: 76-86
2014 Padres: 77-85
2015 Padres: 74-88
2016 Padres: 68-94
2016 Marlins: 79-82

Even after getting traded to the “contending” Marlins around the trade deadline in 2016, it didn’t help his cause. Granted, the early-2010’s Cubs and 2010’s Padres were pretty bad, overall. And certainly Cashner’s presence, albeit valuable to some degree, wasn’t enough to get them over any sort of hump. He is what he is: at best a fringe-#3; at worst, on the disabled list.

The Rangers are playing it pretty safe. Should they contend in 2016, Cashner will no doubt play some role. But if they don’t, they could always flip him to a contender and net something of value in return, whether it’s a 17 year-old lottery ticket or some bullpen help for 2018-2020.

Beyond that, this is about as lukewarm as the hot stove season gets.

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