Andrew Cashner, the heralded pitching prospect the Padres got in return in the trade sending Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs, reported on December 5th he will not be ready for Opening Day due to a laceration in his hand. 

The injury, caused by a hunting accident, will sideline the young arm for three months. This comes as extremely disappointing news as Cashner was competing for a job in the Padres starting rotation. 

This humbling news also comes on the heels of star-catcher, Yasmani Grandal, being suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance.

However, what kind of effect will Cashner’s return have on the Padres?

In 2012, Cashner had somewhat of a lackluster debut. Through five starts and some bullpen work, he had a 4.27 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and three wins.

In my opinion, Cashner should return to the bullpen when he’s healthy and strive to earn a spot in the rotation. His 52/19 K/BB ratio, combined with his above-average fastball (averaging over 100 mph), he will be a great middle reliever to set up Huston Street.

As we’ve seen with recent World Series champion teams, a strong unhittable bullpen can work wonders and should not be overlooked. The addition of Cashner to the pen to fill voids after Heath Bell and Ernesto Frieri have left the team, could push the Padres bullpen to become one of MLB’s best.

Like Neftali Feliz and Aroldis Chapman, fireball throwers are often a better fit in the bullpen than as starters—though their desires conflict.

All we can do now is wish Cashner a speedy and full recovery and see where manager Bud Black places him upon his return. 

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