But it appears the Sox have another justification for not using Cashner heavily down the stretch, and it involves the right-hander's contract.
Cashner currently is on a two-year deal that has a $10 million option for 2020. If he amasses 340 innings pitched between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the Red Sox will be on the hook for that $10 million. If he falls short of 340 innings, that $10 million becomes a team option which the Red Sox can decline.
After his brief outing Sunday, Cashner is 63.1 innings away from that 340-inning threshold (153 innings in 2018, 126.2 innings in 2019 to date).
An additional note on Andrew Cashner:
He is 63.1 innings away from having his $10M for 2020 guaranteed. Over ~8 starts, that's highly unlikely.
Would expect the Red Sox do everything in their power to make sure he doesn't get there.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 12, 2019
Fortunately for the Red Sox' bottom line, Cashner hitting 340 innings seems unrealistic. Assuming he makes eight starts over Boston's final 42 games, the 32-year-old would need to average over seven innings per outing to reach the 340-inning range.
Cashner has pitched into the seventh inning just once since joining the Red Sox via trade from the Baltimore Orioles, and four of his six appearances have lasted 5.2 innings or fewer.
So, if the Sox want to keep Cashner in the rotation with that hope that he improves on his disastrous 8.01 ERA with Boston, they shouldn't have an issue. But if Cashner starts creeping toward that 340-inning mark, you might see Alex Cora moving up a few mound visits.
Why Red Sox have extra motivation to limit Andrew Cashner's innings originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston