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Red Sox trade for Andrew Cashner

Not the most exciting addition, but he fills a hole.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

We learned early in the week that the Red Sox were on the hunt for some starting pitching help on the trade market after shifting Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen, and the same report said they wanted to get something done sooner than later. There are a lot of good starting pitchers available this summer, but it was always going to be harder to swing a deal for a top starter in short time without overpaying. The Red Sox did make a trade for a rotation piece on Saturday, though it’s not the most exciting piece. They acquired Andrew Cashner from the Orioles for minor leaguers Noelberth Romero and Elio Prado.

As the tweet from the team account states, the 40-man roster is now full at 40 players. The team did not have to make a corresponding move as there was an open spot from Tyler Thornburg’s release.

In regards to Cashner himself, well, he fills the number five spot that the team has been sorely lacking for basically the entire season. Cashner is not really a gamechanger in the rotation, though he is having a solid season by some measures. Through 17 starts with the Orioles, in which he averaged about 5 23 innings per start, the righty has pitched to an ERA of 3.83 with a 4.23 FIP and a 4.62 DRA. Cashner is not going to get many strikeouts with only 66 on the year, but he’s getting more ground balls this year than he has at any point in his career and is showing better control than he has since 2014. The key here is that the Red Sox get the expected production from the rest of their rotation. Cashner can do the job as the number five starter, but if he’s needed to do any more than that things can get ugly.

There was also the question of whether or not he would even report to a new team after being traded. Cashner had previously said he’d retire if he was traded, but that was apparently overblown. Chris Cotillo says Cashner will indeed report to the Red Sox and start for them on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

As for his contract, the Red Sox may have him on the roster beyond this season as well. Cashner has a vesting option for the 2020 season that becomes guaranteed if he throws 340 innings between 2018 and 2019. Right now, he is at 249 13 innings since the start of last year, meaning he needs to throw about 90 more innings to reach that mark. It’s a number that is very much in play. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Baltimore is paying half of Cashner’s remaining salary for this year, but presumably if the vesting option is reached the Red Sox would be on the hook for the $10 million owed to him in 2020.

In terms of the prospects Boston gave up, it is a couple of young players in the Dominican Summer League. Romero was a July 2 signing last year who signed for $275,000. He plays primarily third base and has hit .264/.336/.364 in the DSL this year. Prado also signed last summer, getting an $85,000 bonus. He is hitting .303/.400/.418 in the DSL while playing mostly center field.