The Rangers will sign Andrew Cashner for one year and $10 million, removing an obvious possibility from the Pirates’ free agency search. As I’ve noted elsewhere, Cashner seemed, from the outside, like he would have been a good fit as a Bucs reclamation project — he throws hard, he has a good history of getting ground balls, and he’s relatively young. He has a number of drawbacks, too, like the fact that he’s never gotten strikeouts at a rate that matches his stuff, but that’s why he would have been available at a price the Pirates should have been able to afford.
$10 million for a season, by the way, is a reasonable price, since Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey and Charlie Morton have all gotten deals in that same ballpark. With all those players gone, much of the middle class of the free agent market has disappeared (although Derek Holland and Edinson Volquez are still out there).
It remains unclear how the Pirates will fill out their starting rotation. A trade is still a possibility, and of course there’s still at least a theoretical chance of the Pirates re-signing Ivan Nova or something like that. The obvious conclusion, though, is that as middle-tier options vanish, the Pirates are likely to sign someone to a cheaper Ryan Vogelsong-type deal — which, as we’ve seen, doesn’t always work.