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Yankees potential trade target: Andrew Cashner

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Could Cashner be forced to shave his beard two years in a row?

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Yankees have been engaged in trade rumors for a while now. They’ve most commonly been connected to Athletics’ ace, Sonny Gray. However, after the Rangers made him available, the Yankees are supposedly also looking at ace Yu Darvish. If the Yankees want to compete this year, they need pitching. If the cost on Gray or Darvish is too high, could they shift their focus from Darvish to one of his teammates?

If the Rangers are taking calls on Darvish, they’re probably open for business. This could likely make Andrew Cashner available as well. Though he wouldn’t be the savior ace that most fans would hope for, if the Yankees traded for him, he could help solidify the rotation. He’s also in the middle of probably his best season in the last few years.

Cashner’s best season came in 2014 when he had a 2.55 ERA (3.09 FIP, 132 ERA+) in 19 starts. His numbers fell off a bit in 2015 and he was posting similar numbers in 2016 before he completely unraveled after being traded to the Marlins. Cashner, one may remember, was originally sent to the Marlins along with Colin Rea before the Marlins actually shipped Rea back to the Padres because he had an elbow injury.

Back to Cashner though, he never quite got in a groove for the Marlins. He posted a 5.98 ERA (4.68 FIP, 67 ERA+) 12 games/11 starts for Miami. Thanks to an awful second half with the Marlins, Cashner wasn’t really on any team’s “must have” list. So he ended up signing a one-year deal with the Rangers. With his numbers getting worse by year, it was likely the best he could do to prove he could pitch better than he had been.

With the Rangers this year, Cashner seems to be back on track. In 16 starts thus far, he’s posted a 3.64 ERA (4.49 FIP, 126 ERA+) as he’s looking like his 2014 self. Whether this is a long-term turnaround for Cashner or not is to be seen, but would he makes sense for the Yankees while he’s pitching well?

The answer comes back to exactly what the Yankees are trying to accomplish. If they’re serious about contending, they’d likely need to pursue better options like Darvish or Gray. With their offense and bullpen, adding another true ace would solidify them as a real World Series contender. On the other hand, with their offense and bullpen, an argument could be made that they don’t really need another ace.

Just someone who could provide an upgrade in the rotation could be enough. While many fans are asking for Chance Adams to be given a...chance, he’s not seen as a “realistic rotation option” at the time.

Outside of Adams, the Yankees have turned to Luis Cessa and Caleb Smith. While Smith has “earned another turn” in the rotation, the Yankees probably don’t want to rely on him or Cessa if they’re thinking about a playoff run. So someone like Cashner could come at a relatively low cost and fit with the Yankees’ needs.

Although, if someone were to ask Cashner, he probably wouldn’t be too happy with a trade to New York.

When Don Mattingly arrived in Miami, he instituted a facial hair policy similar to the Yankees that has since changed. When Cashner was there though, it was as strict as the Yankees’ policy and he was not happy. He considers the policy a “big deal” and admitted that he “hates” the policy. He has since grown his beard back and it seems almost cruel to force him to shave two consecutive years. C'est la vie though.

Cashner probably has nothing to worry about as the Yankees trading for him seems unlikely. He’d be a rental option and the Yankees are said to be looking for help past just this year.

Though they’re focused on beyond just this year, trading for Cashner could work. Cashner would certainly cost less than Darvish or Gray, and he could keep pressure off prospects from being rushed to the majors.

Trading for Cashner wouldn’t be the worst thing and could actually make sense. But if the Yankees were to make any moves, they’d likely want an impact upgrade and Cashner is not that. At best, he’d be a marginal upgrade from what they currently have. If they feel the need for an upgrade, the Yankees are probably better off looking elsewhere.

*Season statistics provided courtesy of Baseball Reference.