At this point, it is pretty obvious that the 2016 season is one of rebuilding and retooling for the San Diego Padres. With more than two weeks left before the MLB Trading Deadline, Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has already traded away James Shields, Fernando Rodney, and Drew Pomeranz (one of the team’s two All-Stars this year).
One big question mark for Preller is what he plans to do with starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. The big righty from Conroe, Texas is set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, which would make him a “rental” for any team that traded for him. And, unfortunately for the Padres, he has not been consistent enough this season to bring back a top-tier prospect as a rental.
From this point forward, there are only three possible options for Cashner’s future with the Padres…
Option A: Preller Gets Lucky
In the last two weeks, Cashner has had two of his best starts of the season. He also had one of his worst.
- July 3: 6 IP, 1 ER (Loss vs. Yankees)
- July 8: 2.2 IP, 8 ER (Loss vs. Dodgers)
- July 15: 6 IP, 1 ER (Win vs. Giants)
Cashner will likely get two more starts before the August 1st trading deadline. If both of those could qualify for “quality starts” (6 IP or more, 2 ER or less), giving him 4 quality starts in his last 5 opportunities, some GM might be willing to give up a high-level prospect out of desperation.
This is the least likely of all of the options.
Option B: Preller Settles
If there are no “desperate” GMs out there, or if Cashner shows some of the inconsistency that he’s become known for during his tenure in San Diego, the best that A.J. Preller can hope to get back in a trade would be what’s known as a “B-level prospect”.
B-level prospects are not usually regarded as future starters at the MLB level, but they could end up being solid backups. If your team gets very lucky, the prospect develops faster or better than the previous team thought possible and you end up with a starter.
This would be the “take whatever you can get” option and might be the most likely of all of the options.
Option C: Preller Gambles on Himself
This is also known as “The Ian Kennedy Plan”.
Last season, Preller decided against dealing Ian Kennedy at the deadline. Instead, he hung on to Kennedy, and ended up giving him a qualifying offer of $15.8 million in the offseason (with the hope that Kennedy would turn it down).
Kennedy did end up turning it down, signing a 5-year/$70 million deal with the Kansas City Royals, who in turn sent a 1st round draft pick back to the Padres.
With the free agent crop of starting pitchers looking even worse this year than last, it’s reasonable to think that Cashner could end up getting a similar offer and the Padres could end up with a similar result (a 1st round draft pick).
Which of these options do you think A.J. Preller and the Padres should be most aggressively pursuing in regards to Andrew Cashner’s future? Let us know in the comments below!