Well, it turns out Dave Dombrowski did get his bullpen addition after all. We just had to be a little bit patient. Andrew Cashner was acquired by the Red Sox in the middle of July to solidify what had been a highly volatile fifth rotation spot in the absence of Nathan Eovaldi. That move has not worked out, to put it lightly. Cashner has been an unmitigated disaster in the back of the Red Sox bullpen, not even coming close to being the nearly-average starter the Red Sox needed. It was not a high bar to clear, but it was too much for Cashner right now. As a result, the team is calling an audible. Alex Cora told the media prior to Monday’s game that Cashner will be moved into a relief role.
Red Sox are moving Andrew Cashner to the bullpen. Team doesn’t plan on using him as a long man, hopes to use his fastball in situational matchups, according to Alex Cora.— Joon Lee (@joonlee) August 12, 2019
After the recent struggles from Cashner and others in the rotation, Cora had indicated there were going to be some shakeups in Boston’s rotation. This surely isn’t the end of that, but it is the first domino to fall. As Joon points out in his tweet, this is not going to be a mop-up role. Instead, Cashner is going to be used in short stints with the hope that his big fastball will play up in that role. I have my doubts about that — a big fastball is just not as impressive in today’s game as it was in the past — but his presence in the rotation had become untenable. If this doesn’t work out, Cashner could find himself off the roster completely if/when players need to be added to the 40-man roster for a September call-up.
As for the rest of the rotation, Rick Porcello is going to stick around for now. He, of course, has also been struggling mightily of late and many have called for his removal from the rotation as well. Cora is not ready to make that move yet, but one would think that could be coming with another bad start or two from him. I’ll have more on the rotation as a whole tomorrow, but for as cathartic as changes like this could be there also aren’t a whole lot of intriguing alternatives. Whatever the case, this is just a continuation of a brutal 2019 season for this team as they continue to grasp at straws looking for a plan that will work.