Trevor Cahill Rumors

West Notes: Giants, Cahill, Jackson

The Giants didn’t have a particularly flashy offseason, but GM Brian Sabean’s moves have helped the team post the best record in baseball so far, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Hunter Pence, signed to a five-year deal near the end of last season, has hit .296/.368/.464 so far, and Michael Morse, who Sabean signed to a one-year deal, has also been a key part of the Giants’ offense. Tim Hudson, signed to a two-year deal, has posted a 1.81 ERA. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • Two and a half years later, the Diamondbacks‘ trade for Trevor Cahill looks like a poor one, and’s Nick Piecoro investigates what went wrong. One problem, Piecoro says, is that Cahill’s mechanics are inconsistent, which means he sometimes has trouble throwing strikes. The Diamondbacks demoted Cahill to Class A+ Visalia this week after he posted a 5.66 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 41 1/3 innings this season. Jarrod Parker, the key piece the Diamondbacks traded to the Athletics for Cahill, recently had Tommy John surgery, but Piecoro points out that at least Parker isn’t signed to a long-term contract. Cahill is guaranteed $12MM next season.
  • The parameters of Alex Jackson‘s upcoming negotiations with the Mariners are now relatively clear, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes. Jackson, the sixth overall pick, has a bonus pool allotment of around $3.58MM. The Mariners, meanwhile, have about $3.89MM remaining in their bonus pool.  They can spend up to around $4.22MM before they’re penalized with the loss of future draft picks. Jackson is advised by Scott Boras.

D’backs Option Trevor Cahill

JUNE 12: Cahill has been optioned to the Diamondbacks’ Single-A Advanced affiliate, the club announced on Twitter. He will take the ball as the starter for Visalia tonight, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, which confirms both that he has accepted the assignment and that he will look to stretch out again as a starter.

JUNE 10: The club has secured optional waivers on Cahill, tweets Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona, meaning that he can be sent to the minors if he consents to the assignment.

JUNE 9, 7:48pm: Cahill has indicated that he would be amenable to taking a minor league assignment, tweets’s Steve Gilbert.

5:58pm: The Diamondbacks announced today that they have designated right-hander Trevor Cahill for assignment as part of a series of transactions (Twitter links). The club also reinstated J.J. Putz from the 15-day disabled list, recalled Will Harris from Triple-A Reno, and placed Eric Chavez on the 15-day DL.

Now 26, Cahill came to Arizona from the Athletics (along with Craig Breslow) back in December of 2011. The Diamondbacks gave up a significant haul to acquire his rights, parting with Jarrod Parker, Collin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook. While Cowgill has moved on from Oakland, both Parker and Cook are key parts of the club’s staff (though the former is out for the year for Tommy John surgery and the latter has been limited with his own arm troubles).

Less than a year before he was dealt, Cahill had signed a five-year, $30.5MM pact with Oakland. That contract, no doubt, was part of his appeal, especially as he owned a 3.91 ERA through 583 career innings at the point of the trade. Though he was coming off of a less impressive 2011 campaign, the then-23-year-old had tossed 196 2/3 innings of sub-3.00 ERA ball in 2010.

Now, of course, most if not all of the remainder of that contract is likely to stay on Arizona’s books — and it no longer looks like a bargain. While Cahill combined for 346 2/3 innings of 3.87 ERA ball in his first two seasons with his new club, he missed time last year with a hip injury and has struggled to a 5.66 ERA through 41 1/3 frames in 2014. Though he is striking out batters at a 9.6 K/9 rate that is far and away the best in his career, he is also surrendering a career-low 5.4 BB/9 while dropping below a 50% groundball rate for the first time since his rookie year.

On the other hand, since shifting to the pen, Cahill has worked to a 3.04 ERA while holding the opposition to a .681 OPS. And on the whole, advanced metrics see Cahill as being much the same pitcher now as he has always been. For instance, since his first year in the bigs, his SIERA has never been above 4.11 or below 3.84 (and stands at 3.96 for 2014).

The contract, which includes successive club options for 2016-17, guarantees Cahill the rest of his $7.7MM salary this year as well as $12.3MM for 2015 and a buyout. The question becomes whether not only those obligations, but also Cahill himself, will stay in Arizona. GM Kevin Towers says that the “hope is to retain him,” as the team “still think[s] there is value there,” reports Jesse Sanchez of (via Twitter).

Though he has options available, as a veteran with over five years of service time to his name, Cahill would need to agree to any assignment from the D’backs – and would not sacrifice future salary if he declines. Towers implied that he has agreed to do just that, says Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (links to Twitter): “There’s a game plan in place for what we’re ultimately going to do, but as of right now he’s just designated.” Presumably, the club would allow Cahill to try to work out his issues while stretching back out as a starter.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

D-Backs Determined To Leave Orlando With Choo Or Trumbo

10:36am: Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register hears that there is "zero" chance the D-Backs would part with both Cahill and Skaggs to land Trumbo (Twitter link).

9:31am: One executive that spoke with the Diamondbacks came away with the impression that Arizona is getting Choo, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

9:25am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that one potential Trumbo package that has been discussed would send both Cahill and Skaggs to the Angels, which would seem to be a tremendous haul for the right-handed slugger.

9:22am: The Diamondbacks are "determined" to leave the Winter Meetings with Shin-Soo Choo or Mark Trumbo, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). According to Sherman, Choo's asking price is said to be in the range of Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142MM contract, and the Rangers remain in the mix. One thing working in Arizona's favor in regards to Choo is that the outfielder currently resides in Buckeye, Ariz., tweets's Steve Gilbert.

The Diamondbacks emerged as players for Choo yesterday and are said to be involved in trade talks for Trumbo as well. Reportedly, names like Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Cahill have been discussed with the Angels in talks for Trumbo, who hit 34 homers last season but is seen as a below-average defender in the outfield and comes with OBP issues.

“Good Chance” Angels Trade Trumbo During Meetings

11:52am: The Angels' talks with Arizona are focusing more on Skaggs than Cahill, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

11:18pm: There's a "good chance" the Angels end up moving Trumbo during this week's winter meetings, tweets Alden Gonzalez of Gonzalez adds that while the D-Backs are one possibility, the Angels are engaged in talks with many clubs.

7:28pm: In their talks with the D-Backs, the Angels are primarily focused on Skaggs and Trevor Cahill, says Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

6:12pm: There are 12 teams in the mix for Trumbo, according to Heyman (Twitter link), who suggests that there could be a fit with the Diamondbacks. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (via Twitter) that the Angels aren't interested in trading Trumbo for Tyler Skaggs straight up, while Heyman notes that Arizona doesn't want to move Patrick Corbin or Wade Miley.

Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of says the Angels have put other talks to the backburner as they focus on Trumbo. The Royals are also a possibile trade partner, according to Stark (Twitter link).

5:27pm: The odds of the Angels dealing Trumbo are increasing, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter). Rosenthal says that the Angels are becoming more open to the idea, while the Diamondbacks are pushing and other teams are improving their offers.

4:31pm: Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that there has been "fairly heavy traffic" on Trumbo, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register.

4:14pm: The Angels have spoken to the Diamondbacks about Arizona's pitching, though it's not clear whether Trumbo has been in play in those talks, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

3:04pm: The Diamondbacks have been said to be looking at starting pitching, but Rosenthal tweets that they could also join the mix in talks for Trumbo. As Rosenthal notes, Arizona has plenty of young pitching to tempt the Angels.

11:20am: Sources have indicated to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Mark Trumbo is "in play" as the Angels discuss trades with other teams (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Angels would hate to lose Trumbo but also recognize that he may be the best trade chip they have.

Set to turn 28 in January, Trumbo once again posted big-time power numbers in 2013. The right-handed swinger slugged a career-high 34 home runs and knocked in a career-best 100 runs as well. However, he batted just .234 with a .294 on-base percentage, displaying a continued difficulty in getting on base. He's turned himself into a solid first baseman, posting plus marks in both UZR and Defensive Runs Saved in recent years. His defense at an outfield corner has been subpar throughout his career, making it seem likely that teams looking to put him in right or left field wouldn't be willing to surrender as much talent.

Eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, Trumbo is projected by MLBTR's Matt Swartz to earn $4.7MM in 2014. He can be controlled through the 2016 season via the arbitration process. Recently, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register noted that a trade of Trumbo is unlikely.

Rosenthal On Dodgers, La Russa, Cahill, Angels

The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..

  • If Steve Cohen winds up buying the Dodgers, Tony La Russa would reportedly become a key decision-maker for the club.  According to rival executives, La Russa's strong personality might diminish the Dodgers’ chances of hiring one of the top current general managers.  It's far from certain that Cohen will get the team or that he would in fact hire LaRussa in a top role, but GMs like the Rays’ Andrew Friedman or the Diamondbacks’ Kevin Towers likely would not leave their current situations for limited autonomy in L.A.
  • Rival executives still find it curious that the Athletics traded Trevor Cahill and one told Rosenthal that GM Billy Beane "must have known something."  Beane was likely troubled by what he saw out of the right-hander's advanced metrics.  Cahill, who is under a club-friendly long-term contract, had an abnormally low BABIP of .237 in 2010, his breakout year.  When Cahill’s BABIP increased to .306 in 2011, his performance suffered accordingly.  
  • Angels manager Mike Scioscia said at the start of spring training that Bobby Abreu could get 400 plate appearances, but that doesn't seem likely with Kendrys Morales on track to be the team’s designated hitter.  The Halos have been looking to move the 38-year-old for quite some time and he hasn't helped his case by coming into camp overweight.  The veteran would likely have been cut by now if he wasn't guaranteed $9MM for 2012.
  • Meanwhile, fellow Halos trade candidate Mark Trumbo told Rosenthal that he is becoming increasingly comfortable at third base, though he still has much to learn. 

Poll: Best Trade Package For A Young Pitcher

When the offseason started, we figured it would be headlined by a pair of MVP caliber bats (Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder) and a Japanese import (Yu Darvish). While those three certainly garnered their fair share of attention, the winter was mostly dominated by trades involving young, high-upside pitchers with multiple years of team control remaining.

The Doug Fister trade seemed to get it all started. The Mariners sent him and David Pauley to the Tigers for Francisco Martinez, Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, and Chance Ruffin at the trade deadline. Four similar young, high-upside starters with multiple years of contractual control remaining were traded this offseason. Here are those deals, presented chronologically…

Each trade involved multiple young players going the other way, including at least one top 100 prospect according to Baseball America. Which team got the best return for their young hurler?

D’Backs Acquire Cahill, Breslow From A’s

SATURDAY: Slusser reports that the cash considerations going to the Diamondbacks will be "a couple of hundred thousand dollars."

FRIDAY: As was rumored earlier today, the Diamondbacks have acquired pitchers Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow from the Athletics for minor leaguers Jarrod ParkerCollin Cowgill and Ryan Cook, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) and Steve Gilbert of (Twitter). The Diamondbacks will also receive cash from Oakland, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

The centerpiece of the trade for Arizona is Cahill, a right-handed starter who has logged more than 175 innings in each of his three seasons as a Major Leaguer. The groundballer (53.3% career rate) is under team control at least through 2015 and perhaps through 2017, depending on two club options. He'll join Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson at the top of the D'Backs' rotation, with Josh Collmenter and perhaps (or not) Joe Saunders at the back end.

On a conference call with reporters on Friday night, D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said the timing was right to make a move of this nature:

“A lot of it is just the depth that we have in the system. Certainly, Jarrod Parker was a tough piece to give up, but with Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs and Charles Brewer, we feel we’ve got depth in the starting rotation – also, Wade Miley. We see a window here, specifically in the NL West. We’re kind of in a go-for-it mode.”

Clearly, Cahill will be counted on as one of the mainstays of the D'Backs' rotation, but it wasn't long ago he seemed destined to remain in Oakland after inking a multiyear extension in April:

"I defintely thought I’d be with them a bit longer. But their history is, they usually keep guys when they don’t make too much, then trade them off for prospects. I thought I’d be there longer, but I'm glad to be part of a team that’s headed in the right direction."

Breslow, a lefty reliever, kicked around earlier in his career before latching on with the A's the past three seasons. He's posted a career 3.80 FIP, and with no significant lefty/righty splits, Towers said Breslow will likely be used as a swing lefty out of Kirk Gibson's bullpen in 2012. He is eligible for free agency after 2013.

In Parker, Cowgill and Cook, the A's get three prospects who all have far less than a full season of service time. Of them, Parker, a right-handed starter, is regarded by scouts as having the highest ceiling. Now 24, Parker pitched mostly in the minors in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. He was ranked No. 19 in Keith Law's top 50 minor league prospects in July.

Cowgill is a 25-year-old outfielder who made his Major League debut in 2011 after posting a .383 career on-base percentage in parts of four minor league seasons. Cook was a starter in the minors before being converted to relief work in 2011. He has a "strong arm, chance for a good slider," tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix first tweeted the rumored trade, and Ken Rosenthal of, Piecoro, Slusser and Gilbert all filled in with details.

D’Backs Close To Acquiring Cahill, Breslow

5:41pm: Neither Miley nor Borchering is involved in the trade, tweets Piecoro.

5:22pm: Arizona may also send left-hander Wade Miley to Oakland along with Parker and Cowgill, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Snakes selected Miley in the supplemental first round in 2008. 

As well, the D'Backs made minor league corner infielder Bobby Borchering available during the Winter Meetings, according to Piecoro, though he's not sure if the 21-year-old is part of this potential deal (Twitter).

4:20pm: A D'Backs source says the two sides are still "talking names" and that nothing has been finalized, tweets Piecoro, who adds that it does sound like something is close.

4:02pm: The deal is Cahill and Craig Breslow in exchange for Parker, Collin Cowgill and other prospects, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Rosenthal says the trade is still "fluid" so more names could be involved.

3:42pm: The Diamondbacks are "closing in" on a trade with the Athletics that would send Trevor Cahill to Arizona in exchange for a prospect, reports John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix (Twitter link).  Gambadoro says the prospect isn't Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs (Twitter links).

We heard yesterday from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Cahill had been mentioned in talks between the D'Backs and A's.  Gio Gonzalez's name also came up between the two teams, with Rosenthal noting that the Snakes would need to deal Skaggs to get Gonzalez, but Cahill could be had for a lesser price.  Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic mentioned yesterday that "it's believed that [the D'Backs] focus" was on Cahill and mentioned Jarrod Parker as a candidate to go to Oakland in the swap.

D’Backs In On Cahill, Gio, Kuroda

11:45am: Talks between the A's and D'Backs have advanced but aren't close to completion, tweets Olney.  He reiterates that Bauer is a player of interest to Oakland.

THURSDAY, 8:49am: The A's and D'Backs have discussed the names of many prospects as a possible return for Cahill, even including Trevor Bauer, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.  Bauer, I should note, can't even be included in a deal as a player to be named later until late January.

WEDNESDAY, 1:49pm: Add Athletics righty Trevor Cahill to the list of pitchers under pursuit by the Diamondbacks, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  He says they'd need to surrender Tyler Skaggs for Gio Gonzalez, but not for Cahill.  Cahill, 23, is signed through 2015 with club options on the '16 and '17 seasons.

In November, Rosenthal reported the A's were willing to listen to trade offers for any player other than Jemile Weeks.

Sherman On Yankees’ Search For Pitching

A year ago, the Yankees showed their reluctance to bid on non-elite free agent pitchers with substantial asking prices. Unless the current market for pitching changes, GM Brian Cashman may be searching for back-of-the-rotation bargains again. 

“I’d like to do something, but I am not going to do something at the current costs,” Cashman said, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

C.J. Wilson’s agent requested a New York meeting and the Yankees said they’d get back to the free agent left-hander, according to Sherman, Despite the lack of enthusiasm from the team, Wilson tops the Yankees’ list of free agent starters in terms of talent.

The Yankees have “looked into” Matt Garza, but a Cubs official downplayed the likelihood of any deal involving the right-hander, according to Sherman. The Yankees particularly like Gio Gonzalez and the Athletics are open to anything, but GM Billy Beane is asking for an ace return for Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill.

The Yankees like John Danks and the White Sox like many Yankees prospects, particularly Austin Romine. However, Danks is a free agent after 2012 and the Yankees are reluctant to over-spend on a pitcher they’ll have for just one year.

If the Yankees don't make a major acquisition before Spring Training, they could pencil C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes into four rotation spots. Free agent Freddy Garcia could return on a one-year deal and prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances may contribute at some point in 2012.