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At times, Andrew Cashner has shown the ability to whiff batters. At other times, he has exhibited pinpoint control. Lately, he's been doing both. That makes it an exciting time for the Marlins to acquire the free-agent-to-be.
Cashner was dreadful for the first two months of this season, but he has revived his value since coming off a disabled list stint for a strained neck in early July. Clearly, it's not just in Fantasy that Cashner has raised his appeal, given that the Padres were able to acquire two prospects (righty Luis Castillo and first baseman Josh Naylor) and a potential future closer (Carter Capps) in the deal. Over his five starts since coming off the DL, Cashner has struck out 31 batters with eight walks in 26 1/3 innings. However, an eight-run meltdown at the Dodgers bloated his ERA to 4.78 over this stretch.
In the three starts since then, Cashner has allowed only five runs in 17 2/3 innings, and in facing the Blue Jays, Cardinals and Giants, he hasn't had any easy schedule. Better control with his four-seamer and more frequent usage of his slider have been keys to Cashner's recent success. If he can continue to throw strikes and get whiffs on his slider, Cashner can stay on a roll in his new environs.
The issues that have plagued Cashner over his career -- health and consistency -- won't necessarily go away now that he's wearing a new uniform. Not that Cashner needs it, but he does get an even better home venue in Marlins Park. However, the Padres have actually scored more runs than the Marlins this year, so owners shouldn't count on Cashner getting more run support. He also doesn't get much help with the schedule, as the Marlins won't face the Phillies or Braves until September.
In terms of Fantasy value, Cashner's move is a lateral one, and he brings with him all of the same upside and risks that he would have had if he remained a Padre. Because he's on a nice run -- and not because he is changing teams -- Cashner is worth a flier in standard mixed leagues.
None of the other six players involved in the deal is likely to have any Fantasy value in 2016. Colin Rea will join Cashner in the Marlins' rotation, but he's a pitch-to-contact type who walks too many batters. Going the other way is Jarred Cosart, who shares Rea's penchant for allowing too much contact and too many walks, but at least he has strong ground ball tendencies, which may give him some appeal in NL-only leagues.
Capps is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he had been considered for the Marlins' closer role this spring and could be a valuable Fantasy reliever in 2017. Fellow reliever Tayron Guerrero will head to Triple-A and could spend some time in the Marlins' bullpen this season, but he does not appear to have Fantasy value in the short or long term.
The two prospects going to the Padres -- Castillo and Naylor -- remain as targets for owners in dynasty formats. Castillo has had a good campaign in the Florida State League, showing improved control. Naylor, the Marlins' first-round pick from 2015, hasn't blown the doors off the South Atlantic League, but he is just 19 and has shown decent power and speed.