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Andrew Cashner to start Opening Day for Padres

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Padres manager Bud Black announced earlier this evening that right-hander Andrew Cashner will start the team’s season opener against the Dodgers on March 30. It will be the first Opening Day assignment of his career.

Once a top pitching prospect with the Cubs, Cashner dealt with a bunch of injuries early on his career, but he finally began to realize his potential last season. After making a few early appearances out of the bullpen, he joined San Diego’s rotation in late April and posted a 3.04 ERA and 119/41 K/BB ratio in 165 2/3 innings over 26 starts. While the strikeout rate was lower than expected given his velocity, he missed more bats as the season moved along and posted a ground ball rate above 50 percent. He’s carrying some serious momentum into 2014.

Cashner is part of an interesting rotation in San Diego which also projects to include Ian Kennedy, Josh Johnson, Tyson Ross and Eric Stults. This team could surprise if things break right.

Rockies sign Ian Desmond for five years, $70 million

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 07:  Ian Desmond #20 of the Texas Rangers reacts after hitting a double against the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh inning of game two of the American League Divison Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 7, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Rockies have signed free agent outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond for five years and $70 million.

Desmond, 31, played his first season as a full-time outfielder with the Rangers in 2016. Before that he was the Nationals shortstop. He’ll almost certainly be an outfielder in Colorado, as the Rockies have Trevor Story at short. Desmond hit .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs, 86 RBI, 107 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 677 plate appearances, though he was much, much better in the first half than the second half.

The Rangers had placed a qualifying offer on him which he rejected, so the Rockies will have to give up their first round pick in the 2017 draft, which is 11th overall. That’s the highest pick a team can surrender under the qualifying offer system, as the first ten picks in the draft are protected.

Jeff Locke signed by the Marlins

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: Relief pitcher Jeff Locke #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning of the baseball game at Dodger Stadium Stadium August 13, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Marlins have signed lefty Jeff Locke. Terms have yet to be disclosed.

Locke was non-tendered by the Pirates last week after putting up a 5.44 ERA over 127.3 innings in 2016. He’s just 29 and, even if he’s never been super great or anything, he has pitched better in the past, posting a career 4.16 ERA before last season.