Down on the Farm: Cashner Signs with Cubs
Throughout the season, Vine Line Online will speak with players, managers and front-office personnel in the minor-league system. Today, “Down on the Farm” checks in with Andrew Cashner, the Cubs’ first-round draft pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, on signing with Chicago.
Yesterday, the Cubs signed Cashner, the 19th-overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The deal includes a reported $1.5-million signing bonus, around $75,000 dedicated to further education and a guaranteed invitation to spring training next year.
Last year, it took until the Aug. 15 deadline for Chicago to sign 2007 first-round pick Josh Vitters (No. 3 overall), but Cashner did not want to wait that long to make his professional debut.
“I’m ready to get playing,” said Cashner, moments after inking his deal. “My big thing is getting a couple months underneath my belt. If you wait till the deadline then you are starting out at the low end. I want to get there a lot faster than some other people do.”
By starting Rookie ball earlier than many top draft picks, the former TCU Horned Frog puts himself in good shape to possibly get promoted to a higher Class-A team before the season ends. On draft day, Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken was unsure on whether Cashner would be used as a reliever or a starter. However, it seems that the Cubs have made a decision on the role the flamethrower will take.
“The role I am going to be in is closer,” Cashner said. “That’s what I have heard, so I think that will happen.”
As a first-year closer at TCU this year, Cashner was lights out, picking up nine victories and nine saves in 30 relief appearances. He walked 27, struck out 80 and posted a 2.32 ERA in 54.1 innings. Since then the 6-foot-6 Texas native has been “fishing and…mowing pastures,” and he is eager to get back to the game he loves.
“I’m really excited right now,” Cashner said. “I’m looking forward to going out and working out with the team [in Mesa].”
Like many kids leaving college, this will be the first time Cashner is on his own. The 21-year-old is still trying to wrap his mind around the idea of becoming a professional baseball player.
“It probably will sink in when I get into Mesa [Ariz.] on Friday and finally on my own and paying my own bills and stuff like that,” he said. If all goes well and Cashner is able to adjust to life as a professional pitcher, on and off the field, Cashner might some day pitch in Chicago. After witnessing his first game in Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, Cashner definitely liked what he saw.
“It’s a pretty awesome atmosphere,” he said. “No fans leave early. They stay late, and they still stay even after the game. It’s a pretty neat atmosphere here.”
Hopefully, he can experience it as a player next time.