Red Sox rotation options: Andrew Cashner or Jholys Chacin

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 28: Andrew Cashner #48 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up four runs in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 28, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 28: Andrew Cashner #48 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up four runs in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 28, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox need rotation pitching and the pickings are getting sparse. It gets worse with the choices I present – Andrew Cashner or Jholys Chacin.

A few days ago I went to a local store looking for a Christmas trinket for decorative purposes, but the stock had been picked over. What is left should just go directly to a return bin or a landfill. Looking at what remains of starting pitching that is available to the smart (or dumb) shopper should follow to the baseball version of a landfill.

Necessity says otherwise for your Boston Red Sox and step right up lefty Martin Perez who now has a $6.25 million contract stuffed safely in his Christmas stocking. This is what you now pay for the going rate of a 0.2 bWAR. My fiscal sense went firmly through the revolving door when Kevin Gausman (3-9, 5.72 ERA/3.98 FIP) signed for $9 million. Gausman earned his with a -1.0 bWAR and a career record that mirrors Perez.

The available list is loaded with question marks that cover every conceivable deficit with pitchers: Health, terrible season, a career that says at least they made it, and multiple teams/releases. If Old Mother Hubbard had a baseball cupboard it would be bare. No bone for the rotation unless Jason Vargas, Homer Bailey, or Tyson Ross are on your wish list.

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The Red Sox are still shopping but the shopping is on the exit portion of the rotation and not the entry. David Price is suddenly the flavor of the month despite his hefty price (pun intended) tag of three-years and $96 million. Nathan Eovaldi is also available and even whispers of Chris Sale if a buyer is found.

The other option is getting pitching value for the oft mentioned Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and even Andrew Benintendi. Pitching that may be in the middle of arbitration and a hefty price down the fiscal highway. Best to seek talent on the cusp that is controllable, but that does not solve the immediate.

Since I am often critiqued regarding my sanity – baseball or otherwise – when I attempt to configure a possible solution I will go on until locked into the bear trap. If the Red Sox lose another starter and no replacement is found via trade just what do you do? It invariably comes down to the flotsam you know versus the flotsam you don’t know.

That brings us to what you know and it becomes a pick one – Andrew Cashner or Jhoulys Chacin. Both were quite forgettable with the Red Sox in 2019. Both are right-handed and are presumably starters. Both do have a recent history of success and are when last noted still available. The best of all is both would be relatively cheap in today’s market.

That seems all cheery unless you remember 2019 in which Cashner – then the ace of a wretched Baltimore staff – was sent to Boston in trade. Cashner responded with a series of starts that were downright incendiary. Eventually, Cashner was given the mop for bullpen mop-up duties where the restorative powers (1-1, 3.86) made Cashner a bit more presentable.

Chacin made five stars for Boston after management desperation rescued the 32-year-old from the baseball boneyard. Just a wink into the past – 2018 – had Chacin taking the hill for 35 starts for the Brewers and managing a very nice 15-8 record – the fourth time in his career Chacin has bagged 10+ wins. So there is a positive history.

Cashner also has a positive history of being a middle of the rotation plugger with several teams scattered in the National and American Leagues. That alone gives a strong hint that Cashner is just temporary labor until better options surface.

That I am even discussing a Sophie’s Choice of Cashner or Chacin gives a sorry insight into the possible status of the Red Sox rotation. Both are a clear borderline back of the rotation (as far back as possible) at this point in their baseball history. But this is symptomatic of the bind Boston is now in. They simply cannot afford the Gerrit Cole’s of baseball – at least until the fiscal reboot takes place.

So just who? If the Red Sox need a devil you know I would go with Cashner who has experience in the American League East – albeit with mixed results. Cashner showed more in Boston when he was dismissed from the rotation to keep company with the bleacher mob at the Fenway Park bullpen. If Cashner is still available I’d make him an offer. As far as Chacin? Based on no one knocking down his door a possible minor league invite could be gifted to him.

Next. Chris Sale must be at his best if Boston wishes to contend. dark

Now that I have upset my stomach with this dire possibility I hope that Chaim Bloom has some type of magic available to prevent either from surfacing. If it gets this bad just maybe Heathcliff Slocumb or John Wasdin is still in reasonable baseball shape. A staff that could have Chacin or Cashner and Perez as part of the rotation will make for an early exit from contention.