The Arizona Diamondbacks bolstered their starting rotation Friday when they acquired Trevor Cahill in a five-player deal that will send the team’s top pitching prospect, Jarrod Parker, to the Oakland Athletics.
Cahill will join Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter in a young Arizona rotation looking to repeat its 2011 playoff run. The 23-year-old is cost-controlled through 2017 and would earn $55.2 million, if Arizona picks up their club options. Since he’s already been through three big-league seasons, Cahill’s deal will buy out all of his arbitration years and a couple of free agent years if the Diamondbacks decide to exercise the options.
Cahill is perhaps best-remembered for his 2010 season in which he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while winning 18 games for Oakland. His pitch arsenal is most known for its sinker, but despite Cahill’s ground balls and the Athletics’ spacious digs, he’s never posted a sub-4.00 FIP in 583 big-league innings.
Still, that sinker will be great fit for Arizona’s launching pad — and there’s always the hope that he’ll become the next reincarnation of former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb. Cahill’s sinker doesn’t have quite the same movement as Webb’s did, but his offspeed stuff is ahead of the game at this point. Cahill’s changeup and curveball both resulted in a whiff rate above league-average last season, which allowed the righty to fare well against left-handed batters. In an interview with our own David Laurila, A’s manager Bob Melvin mentioned that “even if [Cahill] gets behind in the count, he has secondary pitches that he can get over.”
Breslow is a very minor piece in this trade. The southpaw has posted a career xFIP of 4.00 against left-handed hitters, and he has had problems with his control at times. While he’s had some limited success against right-handed hitters, he shouldn’t be trusted against righties because of his traditionally high home-run rates against them.
With Cahill and Breslow, the Diamondbacks are making a play for next year without giving up much in terms of long-term value. Cahill is still young and has some learning to do, while Breslow will give Arizona another arm out of the bullpen. With the Giants and Rockies staying generally stagnant during the offseason so far, the Diamondbacks are showing they will do everything they can to maintain their hold on the NL West. It’s hard to dislike this deal for Arizona, despite them having to give up Parker in the process.
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