Even with the Mets signing infielder Todd Frazier last week and Spring Training beginning Monday, the team could still pursue a starting pitcher.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the team is definitely looking at pitchers, though for now, they believe Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn may be out of their price range.
“They’d love Cobb or Lynn, but it appears only if they really fell due to the dormant market,” Heyman said. “Otherwise, they will take a look at Jason Vargas, Jaime Garcia, Andrew Cashner (who’s represented by CAA which represents Todd Frazier, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes) and Hector Santiago, and those types.”
With that being said, let’s take a look at Cashner’s numbers.
Once upon a time, right-handed starter Cashner was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the San Diego Padres straight up for first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
While we all know that Cashner never became an ace and Rizzo went on to be a stud for the Cubbies, the former has had some decent seasons, including 2017 with the Texas Rangers.
Last year in the Lone Star state, he registered an 11-11 record with a 3.40 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 138 ERA+, 1.320 WHIP and had 4.6 K/9 across 28 starts (166.2 innings pitched). He was also good for 4.6 WAR.
In the past Cashner had demonstrated a high velocity fastball with a devastating slider, but struggled to round out his repertoire as his sinker and changeup laid flat.
He has made some changes in his mechanics over the past calendar year with the Rangers, as he mostly threw a sinker and relied less on his fastball. While his K/9 was a career low, his BABIP (.266) was one of the lowest in baseball, he had success by recording a ground ball rate of 48.6 percent and a hard contact rate of 28.4 percent.
Cashner is an interesting candidate. His 2017 season was solid, but he hasn’t been a highly sought commodity on the open market. I’m sure his low strikeout rate and high FIP and xFIP (5.30), have scared some teams away.
If they are looking at Cashner, another interesting starter to keep tabs on is John Lackey.
Now 39-years-old, Lackey has been around the block, just finishing up his 15th big league season. He has spent the last two seasons with the Chicago Cubs and in 2017, registered a 12-12 record with a 4.59 ERA, 5.30 FIP, 1.277 WHIP and 7.9 K/9 over 31 games (30 started).
What is most appealing to me about Lackey is that he has been a beacon of health throughout his big league career. He has started under 27 games just twice in his big league career and that includes his rookie year with the Anaheim Angels in 2002.
At the very least, bringing him into Spring would be a good move. Though New York might believe otherwise, I still think it’s important the team brings in external arms.
While I hope the Mets are able to land one of Lynn or Cobb, which would provide a huge boost to the rotation, it’s imperative they bring in at least one other arm like Cashner or Lackey if they choose to not break the bank on the former two.