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Trevor Cahill Rumors
Now that the Athletics and Trevor Cahill have reportedly agreed to a multiyear deal, young players like Daric Barton, Gio Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey could be next in line for extensions, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes previewed a Barton extension last month, so let's have a look at what it might take to lock up Gonzalez, another key member of the A's rotation.
As I wrote last fall when I examined the possibility of a new contract for Cahill, Billy Beane and the A's have an extensive history of signing young pitchers to multiyear deals rather than going to arbitration. MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows that Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, Dan Haren, and Brett Anderson all inked contracts for at least four years early in their careers. When dealing with their top arms, the A's appear to believe the opportunity to save a few million dollars by avoiding arb is worth the risk of injury or regression. With Anderson already locked up, and Cahill on the verge, Gonzalez might be next.
One could argue, based on his excellent 2010 campaign, that the Oakland southpaw belongs in the same discussion as Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Romero, who each signed five-year deals worth approximately $30MM. However, due to some struggles in his first two years with the A's (6.24 ERA in 132 2/3 IP), Gonzalez's career ratios, such as a 4.29 ERA and 4.7 BB/9, don't compare well to the numbers those pitchers had posted when they signed.
Of course, while Gonzalez's career stats give the A's some leverage in negotiations, time is not on the club's side. Off to a fast start in 2011, the 25-year-old seems only to be getting better, which means his value could continue to rise throughout the season if the A's wait on a deal. Additionally, Gonzalez is set to become a Super Two player, meaning 2012 will be the first of four, rather than three, arbitration years.
Gonzalez's career totals may slightly hurt his bottom line on a potential extension, but his recent performance will ensure he won't come cheap. Once the figures for Cahill's deal surface, we should get a better idea of what sort of dollar amount it would take to secure Gonzalez's arb seasons. If the ACES client stays healthy and continue to improve, he could eventually earn more than $25MM through arbitration, so I'd expect the A's to explore something in the neighborhood of $20MM for those four years.
"It's a good bet" that A's pitcher Trevor Cahill "will be signed through at least his arbitration years soon," according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. What's more, first baseman Daric Barton "is a strong possibility" to be signed through at least his arbitration years as well. MLBTR's Luke Adams looked at the Cahill possibility last September, so let's focus on Barton.
Barton, 25, hit .273/.393/.405 in 686 plate appearances last year, leading the American League with 110 walks. The A's also consider Barton's defense and durability to be positives, according to Slusser. The first baseman did deal with a few injuries in 2009, and also spent a good portion of the season in the minors due to Jason Giambi's presence. He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time after the 2011 season.
Barton is a very unique first baseman, and new agent Dan Lozano would have a hard time getting him properly compensated through the arbitration system. Barton's value is tied to his OBP and defense; he only has 26 home runs and 136 RBI in 1,485 career plate appearances. How unique is it for someone to play 150 games at first base and post an OBP of at least .390 with a SLG under .410, as Barton did last year? According to the Baseball-Reference play index, the only other player to do it in the last 30 years was Mike Hargrove for the Indians in 1980.
If my theory that a player like Barton would be a bargain in arbitration is correct, the A's should only extend him if they're getting a big discount or control of free agent years. From Lozano's point of view a great comparable would be Billy Butler, who is a also a little short on power but still signed for $30MM over four years ($19MM for his three arbitration years, $8MM for one free agent season, and a club option for a second). The A's might argue that Barton better resembles a healthier Nick Johnson, though Johnson's three-year extension came at a much different point in his career. Both Butler and Johnson, though, have at least flashed 20 home run power in their careers.
The A's have expressed interest in signing Trevor Cahill to a multiyear deal, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Cahill, 23, will be arbitration eligible for the first time after the season.
Last year, the right-hander posted a 2.97 ERA in 196 2/3 innings with 5.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in his second full season. He won 18 games, made the All-Star team and finished 9th in Cy Young Award voting, so his agent, John Boggs, would have plenty of positives to point out in a potential arbitration hearing with Oakland.
The A's have a history of locking up their young starters. They have signed Brett Anderson, Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson to extensions since 2000. As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, the deals have all been for four years and $9-13MM.
MLBTR's Luke Adams previewed a possible extension for Cahill last fall.
TUESDAY, 7:39pm: Braves GM Frank Wren and agent Terry Bross will discuss an Uggla extension soon, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wren says he would like to sign Uggla to an extension and is optimistic about reaching one.
MONDAY, 8:43pm: The Cardinals, Braves and Athletics have interest in locking up star players to multiyear extensions. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak met with the representatives for Albert Pujols today, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter).
The Marlins traded Dan Uggla to Atlanta partly because extension talks with the second baseman stalled, but the Braves are now making progress on a possible extension, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link). Uggla, who turned down a four-year, $48MM offer from the Marlins this fall, will likely earn about $10MM in 2011.
The A's are exploring a possible multiyear deal with Trevor Cahill, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The 22-year-old is under team control through 2014. It wouldn't be the first time GM Billy Beane has locked up a young starter, as Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, Dan Haren and Brett Anderson will attest.
Thursday night linkage..
- Agent Scott Boras said in an interview on MLB Network Radio that he has never seen more interest in a player than he has for client Adrian Beltre.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journel-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he is "making progress" towards a deal with Craig Counsell.
- Zack Greinke has yet to present the Royals with his list of clubs that he refuses to be traded to, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that A's GM Billy Beane said that no move will be ruled out this winter except for dealing starters Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden.
- A source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that he thinks the Diamondbacks will look for a short-term solution at first base. As Morosi points out, this would mean that Paul Konerko would not be the answer in Arizona.
- John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times thinks the Rays should re-sign Carlos Pena.
- Nats reliever Joe Bisenius has elected free agency after being outrighted, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The fireballer was a September call-up this year but made just five appearances.
- Jayson Stark of ESPN (via Twitter) expects free agent Hiroki Kuroda to remain with the Dodgers.
- While Justin Marks may not blossom into a superstar, some think that he could develop into a No. 3 or 4 starter, writes MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Royals acquired the left-hander from Oakland along with Vin Mazzaro in exchange for David DeJesus.
- In an interview on MLB Network Radio, free agent Craig Counsell said there's a "definite possibility" that he could return to the Brewers.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adrian Beltre | Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Brett Anderson | Carlos Pena | Craig Counsell | Gio Gonzalez | Hiroki Kuroda | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Milwaukee Brewers | Oakland Athletics | Paul Konerko | Tampa Bay Rays | Trevor Cahill | Washington Nationals | Zack Greinke
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.