Well, it is official Padres fans, another Starting Pitcher has gone down with an injury. Eric Stults, who was signed then put in the rotation because of injuries has been put on the Disabled List with a strained left lat muscle. So what happens now? Well, according to team Beat Writer Corey Brock, Setup man Andrew Cashner will be making Stults’ scheduled start on Saturday and likely be moving into the rotation full time. With this current turn of events in mind, I figured that I would share my personal thoughts (Pros/Cons) on the situation.
For the record, let me say that I am a fan of giving Cashner his chance to start over the course of the season. I mean, injuries have ravaged this poor team to the core, and Cashner is an available arm that must be used because of the massive amounts of Friars Starters’ which have gone down over the last couple of months. San Diego does not have a large number of options left to turn to, and they should at least consider trying out a guy like Cashner rather than signing another veteran Pitcher off the “scrap heap.”
Another reason why I like the move is because Cashner has had some starting experience before during his time with the Cubs. In fact, he went 10-8 during his Minor League career where he was a starter almost exclusively. And according to Brock, Cashner was slated to be the Cubs’ 5th starter in 2011 before he went down with a shoulder injury to his right arm. With this in mind, it is good to know that Cashner does have a starting background which was not in his too distant past. This should help Casher because he will likely be asked go 5+ Innings during his later outings with the Padres.
Yet the biggest reason I am a fan of Cashner being given the chance to start is because of the fact that the more experimenting this Padres team does over the course of this “almost lost” season the better. This team needs to figure out which guys fit best and where, and allowing Casher to become a little bit versatile will allow the Coaching Staff to see a different side of his ability outside of the Setup role.
Let me just say however, that I do harbor some misgivings about Cashner being asked to start this season. While they are a bit small and nitpicky, I feel like I should at least discuss them in this section. The thing which worries me most about Cashner is his control and how inconsistent it has been over the first few months of this 2012 campaign. At times, Cashner has blown people away with his electric stuff and has 29 Strikeouts on the season, and given us glimpses why he has been such a promising Setup man for the ballclub.
Yet in other outings where he has been not so successful, Cashner has had trouble getting people out and allowed baserunners galore. Over his 26 Innings this season, Cashner has given up 23 Hits and 16 Walks, and logged a somewhat hefty for a Setup man 3.81 ERA as well. If Cashner starts and ends up getting shelled early in these outings, it could put a large amount of strain on the Bullpen. You know, the unit which is almost as thin and inexperienced because of injuries as San Diego’s starting staff is at the moment. Keeping the guys off the bases early in games will be crucial, especially for a team like the Padres which has trouble as a whole scoring runs.
While Cashner does have experience as a Starter in the Minor Leagues (42 Starts in 48 appearances), he has only started 1 of his 87 Games at the Major League level. I guess everybody needs to start somewhere, but the inexperience in terms of Major League starts is a bit worrisome for me, especially from a stamina standpoint. While the Padres will be optioning Cashner down to the Minors after his start on Saturday to build up his stamina and arm to work into a Starting role full time, he still has yet to log any outings of longer than 2 Innings this season. In fact, his longest outing of the season was one where he threw 39 Pitches total.
Despite my worries about what could happen, I believe that this is a good move mostly because of the fact that the rest of this season will be a good experimentation project for Black and the rest of the Coaching Staff. I say give Cashner his shot to start. While a bit limited, he does have experience at the trade and did have a winning Minor League record. Plus, Cashner has some dominating stuff, which if honed, could really turn him into a dominating figure in the rotation for years to come, even when the youngsters arrive from the Double and Triple-A levels. The Padres have another 100 games to figure out their future plans, so every experimental move made, the better.