Trevor Cahill: Extension Candidate

Trevor Cahill is still over a year away from becoming eligible for arbitration for the first time, but if the Athletics' past signings are any indication, the team has already started thinking about offering him an extension. More than any other club over the last decade, the A's have exhibited a willingness to lock up their young pitchers very early in their careers, which means an agreement between the A's and Cahill could be on the horizon.

Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, and, most recently, Brett Anderson all inked their extensions with Oakland prior to racking up two years of service time. In each instance, the structure of the contract was similar: with the exception of Anderson, who has a club option for his first year of free agency, the A's never bought out more than the pitchers' arbitration seasons. While there was some risk involved for the team, locking up pitchers so early in their careers, the moves were designed to avoid paying exorbitant raises through arbitration down the road.

It's possible that, given injuries to Harden and Anderson after they signed their extensions, the A's will be more inclined to go year to year with their current crop of young starters. If the club is still willing to assume the risk inherent in long-term extensions though, players like Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez, and especially Cahill could benefit.

After throwing six more shutout innings today, Cahill ranks third in the American League in ERA, his 2.72 mark bested only by Clay Buchholz and Felix Hernandez. Cahill, 22, has improved his peripherals across the board this year, including a walk rate of 2.7 BB/9 and just 0.8 HR/9. There are a couple of red flags for the former second-round draft pick; he doesn't strike out many hitters (5.1 K/9) and his ERA is two runs lower at home than on the road. Still, he has been the undisputed ace of the staff this season, and the A's would be doing well to lock him up at an affordable price.

When considering what sort of contract offer would be appropriate for Cahill, the A's and the pitcher's agent will likely have different ideas for comparisons. Oakland could point to Fausto Carmona, who signed a long-term extension following a 2007 campaign (3.06 ERA) that earned him Cy Young votes. Carmona's deal guarantees him $15MM for his final four years of team control, and includes affordable club options for each of his first three free agent years.

Cahill and his agent would probably prefer to align the right-hander with Ricky Romero, Yovani Gallardo, and Jon Lester, who signed extensions worth about $30MM over five years – four of team control and one of free agency. Cahill isn't as dominant as those pitchers, relying, like Carmona, more on groundballs than strikeouts, but his age and his comparable peripheral numbers work in his favor.

Given Oakland's preference to lock up its young pitchers for their arbitration years, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the two sides reach an agreement this winter. A deal worth a little less than $20MM for Cahill's final four years of team control could make sense for both the team and the 22-year-old.


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29 Comments on "Trevor Cahill: Extension Candidate"


4 years 10 months ago

Looking at that Oakland rotation, it can be real good for a long time, if they can retain them. It could be very similar to that of the A’s in the early 2000’s. If only they coul get some bats, this team could be a title contender soon.

j6takish
4 years 10 months ago

They could easily be winning the AL West every year no doubt, but what people seem to forget is, those teams off the 2000’s got destroyed in the playoffs. Teams like the A’s and the Twins are always just good enough to win the division, but they are always too cheap to sign that big free agent to push them over the edge

4 years 10 months ago

Those teams were 100 game winners consistently though. I think that those losses may have been more of a product of luck (as much of a crapshoot as the playoffs are). Also, I think that any team with that good of a rotation has a chance if they get hot(see 2005 White Sox). Also, each of there top 3 prospects are hitters, including Chris Carter and Michael Taylor, so they could be contenders in 2 or 3 years. Plus, Beane signed Sheets for 10 million, which shows he’s not afraid to spend.

Ferrariman
4 years 10 months ago

he also offered multi year deals to Beltre and Scutaro in the offseason as well. i’m likin the direction the A’s are going. now if they could just get more than 15k fans a game and a new ballpark…

$1529282
4 years 10 months ago

The way things turned out, Beane should be glad Scuatro went to Boston. Pennington’s been a better player anyway.

Ferrariman
4 years 10 months ago

i know but thats not the point. my point was that the A’s are doing something they previously didn’t do, try to sign meaningful free agents.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Pennington might have the 2nd strongest shortstop arm in Baseball. Like him a lot.

By the way Morneau, I hope you saw Espinosa’s 1st MLB home run and his swing…Pedroia Like I tell you!

RedSoxDynasty
4 years 10 months ago

Pennington better than Scutaro? The only ss worse than Pennington is JJ Hardy and his anemic bat. No one is complaining about Scutaro in Boston my friend!

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Maybe. But my gut says those days are over. I say the Twins at least make it to the ALCS this season and Chris Carter will help the A’s make or come close to postpseason bound by 2012.

alphabet_soup5
4 years 10 months ago

I don’t see the Twins making it past the Yankees or Rays in the first round…the Yanks rotation isn’t perfect either but I see them winning in a best of 5 series.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Nope. Twins are going to get past them this time around.

4 years 10 months ago

Don’t think so man…

4 years 10 months ago

To me, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez are pitchers you absolutely have to lock up right now.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Exactly…On my blog that went on Baseball blogs weigh in I said that Gio deserves a little more than the Matt Cain contract. Trevor Cahill and Vin Mazzaro deserves to be locked up as well.

boston3party123
4 years 10 months ago

the a’s will be a good team next year if they add a bat or two

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Get Chris Carter up, maybe sign Carl Crawford.

jwredsox
4 years 10 months ago

I never realized how low Cahill’s K/9 is. Something he definitely needs to work on. And I just don’t feel right with Carter. No doubt he has the top power potential but there are questions to whether he will be a .250 or .300 hitter. The difference is a fringe all star to superstar. And in that big ballpark if he settles at a 30 hr, .250 guy you have a Mike Cameron with more power who is bad on defense and little speed. I do like his walk rates though and how well he has hit for power this season. Anyone know if he is in a hitters park though?

ryetoons
4 years 10 months ago

The A’s have a great young core. They’re going to be a fun team to watch for awhile. I hope they stay in Oakland.

4 years 10 months ago

San Jose A’s… yeah don’t think so if they want a new ballpark at least make it a little bit smaller in Oakland

4 years 10 months ago

Though I believe the A’s will eventually move to San Jose or Fremont, they are not going anywhere for at least 4 years I’d say (time to get the offers, build the park and all.) So if they want any real production from the signings of the young pitchers, they need the mindset of win now and continue to win now, not in a few years. Why waste the years of the great starting pitching?Yes lock Cahill up, and Gio at the same time. Let Vinny go year to year for now, he has not played like the ace the A’s say he will be, but with time I think he can. (They say he has the best stuff of the new “big three”, Cahill, Anderson and Mazzaro.)Cahill will end the year in the top 5 for AL CY as long as he doesn’t be completely miserable in his last 5+ starts.Lock them up!

4 years 10 months ago

*LETS GO OAKLAND!

mauerfan
4 years 10 months ago

King Luck doesn’t deserve an extension yet.

sacu
4 years 10 months ago

About as much as Mauer deserves $184MM?

mauerfan
4 years 10 months ago

He actually proved himself before he got his deal. Cahill has a .224 BABIP, he’s getting lucky as hell.

MrCleanSweep
4 years 10 months ago

Extreme ground ball pitchers like Cahill historically have a low BABIP. They sort of the exception that proves the rule to the thought that a low BABIP means a pitcher has gotten lucky.

Cahill’s low BABIP is more likely to be due to no balls getting past the infield defense, than lucky catches.

4 years 7 months ago

Don’t extreme ground ball pitchers tend to have HIGHER BABIP historically? I mean, if you’re getting batters to put more balls on the ground, doesn’t that imply that infield defense has a greater impact upon the outcome?

sacu
4 years 10 months ago

About as much as Mauer deserves $184MM?

sacu
4 years 10 months ago

About as much as Mauer deserves $184MM?

mauerfan
4 years 10 months ago

King Luck doesn’t deserve an extension yet.