The Baltimore Orioles officially announced their signing of starting pitcher Andrew Cashner on Thursday, but they could still be in the market for another starter.
Cashner signed a two-year/$16 million deal, with a $10 million vesting option for 2020. With his signing, Baltimore now has three starters who are locked into the rotation (Cashner, along with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman). Although Cashner’s addition makes the Orioles starting staff better (11-11, 3.40 ERA in 2017), they still have two rotation spots to fill.
Miguel Castro, Nestor Cortes, Jose Mesa Jr., Mike Wright and Gabriel Ynoa will all compete for the final two spots. Baltimore showed interest in left-handed starting pitcher Jason Vargas, before he inked a two-year/$16 million deal with the New York Mets. There are still a few pitchers on the market that could improve Baltimore’s rotation.
“There’s a few more pitchers on the market,” Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said. “I think you’re going to see a number of pitchers sign this weekend. It’s that time, right? Pitchers and catchers report and then all players report.”
Those starting pitchers include right-handed pitchers Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and former Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Duquette was hesitant in committing to speaking about Tillman, as he is still officially a free agent.
“It’s not really appropriate for me to talk about other players that are on the market,” Duquette said. “I know Chris has been on our team for a long time, but it’s just not appropriate to talk about free agent pitchers that are on the market. There are a number that are still available and there are some pitchers who are available via trade that we’re also exploring.”
As for that aforementioned trade exploration, the Orioles reportedly have interest in both Houston Astros starter Collin McHugh and Tampa Bay Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. Adding one of the two starters will cost prospects, so look for Baltimore to pursue a free agent first, especially if the market allows for a cheaper signing.
If both Cashner and Vargas (18-11, 4.16 ERA in 2017) received nearly identical deals, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Cobb (12-10, 3.66) and Lynn (11-8, 3.43 ERA) not receive much more on the open market. If things continue to go the way that they have, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tillman (1-7, 7.84 ERA) receive a minor league deal.