The Padres have gone through an unusual amount of starting pitchers this year. That number will grow to 11, in just 59 games, as Andrew Cashner will move from the bullpen, to aid a battered starting staff.
Cashner has dazzled Padres fans, with his 100 MPH fastball, but has also struggled with control, walking 16 batters in 26 innings. Cashner is only expected to go three innings on Saturday, and then go to the minors to build up stamina to start for the duration of the season. When the Padres acquired Cashner in the Anthony Rizzo deal, they envisioned a power arm out of the pen in 2012 – one that would make fans forget about the departed Mike Adams.
When the Cashner for Rizzo went down, I was not a proponent of the trade. The Padres brought up Rizzo much too early, and even though the Padres acquired Yonder Alonso, trading Rizzo was not a necessity. I do with Cashner has excellent potential, but he has also struggled with arm injuries.
Cashner put up solid numbers in the minors as a starter: 48 games, 42 starts, and a 2.82 ERA in 182 innings. The Padres can use the rest of 2012 to gauge Cashner’s role in 2013. In this situation, I believe the Padres are doing the right thing. Ultimately, Cashner’s value will be greater in the rotation. He has the ability to throw in the high-90′s, although he needs to develop his changeup.
On the flipside, Cashner has never thrown more than 115 innings as a pro, so he may not have the ability to work deep in games. The 2012 season appears to be lost for San Diego, so why not see what Cashner can do as a starter.