San Diego Saturday’s: Shut Down Andrew Cashner…Now!
By Matt Mirro
What do you do when your ace goes down? You patch up the first spot of the rotation and weather the storm until he returns. It’s not the ideal situation, but it often has to be done. But if your ace is constantly getting hurt is he really an ace? Is he really helping the team? In the case of San Diego Padres’ ace, Andrew Cashner, the team, and it’s fans, are unsure and it may be time to rethink how the Padres use the righty.
Cashner was on the disabled list twice this year and both stints were due to serious injuries. Early in the year, the 28-year-old hurt his elbow and for awhile it seemed like he’d need Tommy John surgery. When that ended up not being the case, Cashner went through a long, slow rehab that took him forever to return to the mound. When he did return, it seemed the team had dodged a bullet… until he injured his shoulder and went back to the DL and went through another long rehab. Something needs to be done in order for Cashner to continue to find success in a Padres’ uniform.
Acquired before the 2012 season for first base prospect Anthony Rizzo (That turned out nicely, huh?), Cashner has posted a 16-20 record, along with a 3.04 ERA and 255 strikeouts in 322.2 innings pitched since then. In 2012 he primarily pitched out of the bullpen, and after returning from an finger injury (suffered during a hunting trip) he moved to the starting rotation and has been great for the team ever since. But he’s constantly injuring his arm and that’s not something the Padres, or any organization for that matter, wants to see from the arm at the front of their rotation. So what can you do? Well, first off shut him down. Don’t let him pitch again in 2014. Why would you risk his long term health on a Padres’ season that is once again going nowhere but the golf course (Don’t let him golf either!)? You can’t risk him hurting his arm even more and having him miss time in the beginning of the 2015 season. You just can’t do that. Let him rest this last month of the season and give him the whole off season to rest, eat cereal, sleep late, watch Netflix, whatever. Let his arm heal. Unfortunately, that may not do it, and more drastic measures may be necessary.
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In 2012, Cashner pitched out of the bullpen and, for the most part, he surprisingly stayed healthy. Maybe, even for just a season, the Friars should move their ace into the bullpen, which will allow him to build up arm strength while lowering his workload, hopefully helping to keep him healthy. Will that actually benefit the team? To be honest, I don’t know. It could really weaken the starting rotation instead of strengthening it, and is it really worth all that to keep Cashner healthy for the long run?
Let’s face it, the Padres aren’t going to compete any time soon, and they should prioritize keeping their key players healthy for the future once they are ready to make a run at the National League West title. Is sacrificing one year of an ace in what will almost certainly be an under .500 season really that big of a price to pay for keeping the team ready for the future? Probably not, and it’s an option the organization needs to consider.
Maybe the Padres won’t need to do something so drastic, but they need to do SOMETHING! They need to ensure they have an important piece like Cashner in the future, because if they don’t, it’ll be a real problem when they are ready to compete. They can’t have an ace that is constantly injured and unable to help the team. Hey, some guys are just like that. Some guys just have trouble with their health and it’s not their fault. But it’s the Padres’ fault if they keep peddling him out to the mound with no sense of security. Something needs to be done. What that something is remains to be seen.