The Rangers made it official on Monday, when they announced the signing of Cashner to a one-year, $10 million contract. The 30-year-old right-hander joins a rotation of Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez. A.J. Griffin is in line to be the Rangers' fifth starter, but they are not done looking for starting pitching. Edinson Volquez is among the remaining free agents still of interest to Texas.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club has not ruled out the possibility of re-signing either Derek Holland or Colby Lewis.
"We'd still like to add depth," Daniels said.
Cashner was high on the Rangers' list going into the offseason, which is hardly surprising, considering they have had multiple trade conversations with the Padres over the past two years. Cashner's name often came up.
"He is an extremely talented individual," Daniels said. "Great makeup. He is a guy we've liked for a long time. We've tried to acquire a few times in the past. We finally got him."
Cashner is from Conroe, Texas, near Houston. He pitched at Angelina (Texas) Junior College and TCU, and he still lives outside Houston.
"I've always wanted to be back in Texas," Cashner said. "Texas carries a lot of pride. I went to TCU down the road. This is a chance to play in front of family and a lot of people I know."
Cashner is also pitching for a team that won two straight division titles.
"The biggest thing to me coming here was somebody told me that the Rangers had the best culture in baseball," Cashner said. "That sets the tone for winning. I'm just trying to fit in my with coaching staff and the culture, go under the radar and do my thing."
The Rangers are hoping that culture helps a pitcher who they believe has yet to reach his considerable potential.
"I really believe sometimes it's the right fit for a player to come in with a coaching staff, players, teammates, community," Daniels said. "Andrew has Texas roots, Texas pride, his family … with the right atmosphere, we feel it's a really good fit."
Cashner was the 19th overall pick by the Cubs in the 2008 Draft, and he was traded to the Padres on Jan. 6, 2012. He split last season with the Padres and the Marlins, going 5-11 with a 5.25 ERA in 27 starts and one relief appearance. He missed time during the season with a strained right hamstring and a strained neck.
The Rangers are counting on pitching coach Doug Brocail to help get Cashner back to where he was in 2013-14, when he was a combined 15-16 with a 2.87 ERA in 45 starts and five relief appearances.
"We were motivated to address a clear need, and this is somebody we think has more upside and more in there," Daniels said. "We think we have the right group of people and the right environment for him."
Cashner just needs to stay healthy and keep on top of the baseball in his delivery. When he does that, everything works well. He will still have significant adjustments to make to the American League and pitching in the heat of Texas. But he will also be in the middle of a division-championship rotation.
"I know what I can do," Cashner said. "Physically, based on where I finished up last year to now, I feel really good."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.