Andrew Cashner, once dubbed a flame-throwing late innings reliever, was quietly a solid starter for the San Diego Padres in 2013. From the sounds of things this weekend, that work might have earned him the Opening Day start in 2014.
Scott Miller reports that manager Bud Black suggested that Cashner will get the nod as the number one guy.
Bud Black hints at #Padres Fan Fest that Andrew Cashner will be opening day starter.
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) February 8, 2014
In 175 innings last season, Cashner had a 3.35 FIP and a 3.62 xFIP. The interesting thing is the way that he adapted to the starting rotation: in 2012 he worked primarily out of the bullpen and had a 10.10 K/9 mark. In 2013, when he was clearly a more effective pitcher overall, that number dipped all the way down to 6.58 K/9. In his case, that drop was a good thing.
Having learned to work more efficiently, Cashner looks to have found his home as a starter. As the Padres try to piece together their rotation with the news that they will be without Cory Luebke for the season due to Tommy John surgery, Cashner will play an important role. At the top of a rotation that otherwise does not have guys with ace-type stuff, there will be pressure on Cashner to match up with the aces from the rest of the division.
That is a lot to ask, but in 2013 Cashner showed that he has the goods to live up to that task.