Chicago Cubs: Andrew Cashner could be on the radar

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Starter Andrew Cashner
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 20: Starter Andrew Cashner /

The Chicago Cubs need pitching help, and it’s possible they could turn to a familiar face to find it. Andrew Cashner could fit their needs, especially if he’s willing to make a move to the bullpen.

It’s no secret what the Chicago Cubs will be looking for the offseason. They’re going to need two starters, and plenty of bullpen help. The question of how will be an intriguing one. They could sign one of the two highly sought-after free agent starters in Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish. But they’re likely to command big money–$90 million or more–and at least four years. If the Cubs don’t sign Arrieta, I would expect them to sign Darvish. So then where will they turn?

From this point, it’s more than probable that a trade will need to be facilitated to get one of the starters. The Cubs could then look at signing a pitcher like Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb as the No. 5 starter. But the critical part will be to get a controllable starter for three to four years. It could be Arrieta, but from past conversations, he’s going to go for five or more years. That may put him out of the Cubs’ window.

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Things are going to change

When you look at the Cubs’ pen, it’s going to be very different come next year. Two of the best pitchers in the bullpen–Wade Davis and Brian Duensing–are free agents. Davis came over in a trade that turned out one-sided in the Cubs favor. Duensing was a  bargain pickup that turned out to be better than expected after a rough start. But if they don’t return, the Cubs will need more help than just waiver wire pickup Ricky Rosario.

So that brings me to former Cubs pitcher Andrew Cashner. Once part of the deal that brought Anthony Rizzo to Chicago, could a reunion be on the horizon? After being a starter for much of his career, a move to the bullpen might work. Cashner was a closer in college while also pitching out of the pen early in his career. He posted an 11-11 record with a 3.40 ERA. With a WAR of 4.6, his season seemed to be a successful one. But that can be a little deceiving.

Does it all add up?

His walk total was down, but so were the strikeout totals. With a QO offer expected of $17.4 million, he likely wouldn’t come cheap to the Cubs. If he declines that, he’ll be looking for similar money or stability with a longer deal. But with an underwhelming market were several sub-par pitchers might set the tone, Cashner could make out on the deal.

Should the Cubs sign him, it would be for the bullpen– but could also play as possible depth should the Cubs face injuries in the rotation as they did this season. Having Cashner in Chicago would be a step-up in the pen, but also in the budget as well.

Next: Free agents that make sense for the Cubs

If the Cubs can find a trade partner to get a middle-to-top of the rotation starter, they might be willing to spend a little bit more on the bullpen for a guy like Cashner. There are a lot of hypotheticals here, but if the Cubs sign Davis or Duensing will greatly factor into this. Winter is coming Cubs fans.