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Cashner adds steady veteran presence to staff

Buzz surrounding camp after righty agrees to terms on 2-year deal
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- While he wasn't on the field, the buzz on Friday morning was all about new Orioles pitcher Andrew Cashner, who inked a two-year, $16 million deal that includes an option for 2020 and gives Baltimore a long-awaited rotation option.

"The addition of Cashner gives us not just a veteran pitcher but a proven pitcher in the American League. That's something to put some value on," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of the 31-year-old, who passed his physical in Sarasota on Thursday.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- While he wasn't on the field, the buzz on Friday morning was all about new Orioles pitcher Andrew Cashner, who inked a two-year, $16 million deal that includes an option for 2020 and gives Baltimore a long-awaited rotation option.

"The addition of Cashner gives us not just a veteran pitcher but a proven pitcher in the American League. That's something to put some value on," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of the 31-year-old, who passed his physical in Sarasota on Thursday.

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"He's got a good veteran presence, he's been steady and dependable in terms of the innings he's pitched. He'll help stabilize the team. Beyond that he's an intelligent and thoughtful pitcher, paid attention to his craft over the years. And he had a really good year last year. Probably the best year of his career … the club showed a lot of patience in the market. This is a piece that should help our team."

Cashner, expected back in camp over the weekend, marks the O's first major addition but potentially not the last, as Duquette noted on Friday that the Orioles are still actively trying to add to their pitching staff.

Asked specifically about former Oriole Chris Tillman, who is a free agent and is still throwing down in Sarasota, Duquette said: "It's not really appropriate for me to talk about other players that are on the market. I know Chris has been on our team for a long time, but it's just not appropriate to talk about free-agent pitchers that are on the market. There are a number that are still available, and there are some pitchers who are available via trade that we're also exploring."

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While Tillman has garnered interest from other clubs, including the Blue Jays and Twins, it's not believed that the O's have made the righty an offer. Despite a slow winter, the free-agent market has picked up some this week, and Duquette said he expects more guys to come off the board over the weekend.

For now, though, the Orioles are just glad they signed a pitcher at an affordable price. That leaves plenty of payroll flexibility for additional moves. Cashner, who made 28 starts for the Rangers in 2017, threw 166 2/3 innings, and joins a rotation with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. He struck out 86 batters and walked 64, posting an impressive ground-ball percentage of 48.6, which ranked No. 6 in the AL and should play favorably in a hitter-friendly ballpark such as Camden Yards, where many fly-ball pitchers have struggled.

Video: Cashner, Showalter on righty's two-year deal

"He's a competitor, man. When he goes out there, there's not many guys that I've seen out there as fired [up] as he is," said Orioles reliever Brad Brach, who was teammates with Cashner for two seasons in San Diego.

"When he gets out there, he wants to have the ball. That's the kind of guy you want on your team, that's for sure. I was with him when he was a bullpen guy, and the stuff he has is electric, but it's been pretty impressive to watch him now be a starter, kind of pitching to contact, which -- when I was first with him -- was not the type of pitcher he was. Yeah, I think it's a really good pickup for us, and he's going to be a competitor and he's going to pitch really well this year."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Andrew Cashner