Trevor Cahill Rumors

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 MLB.com (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 FOXSports.com, 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.


Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers Interested In Buehrle

6:05pm: It's highly unlikely that the Yankees will make a serious run for Buehrle, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).

1:54pm: The Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers are interested in free agent lefty Mark Buehrle, report Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and the Marlins are meeting with him today.  Buehrle, 32, posted a 3.59 ERA, 4.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.92 HR/9, and 44.9% groundball rate in 205 1/3 innings this year.  The long time White Sox starter has pitched 200+ innings in every season since 2001.

The Marlins and Blue Jays are the teams most aggressively pursuing trades for starting pitchers, add Rosenthal and Morosi.  One GM said of the Jays' Alex Anthopoulos, "You can’t pin him down. He has interest in every one of your players."

James Shields, Wade Davis, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Jair Jurrjens, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Chad Billingsley, and Wandy Rodriguez are the pitchers "known or thought to be available in trades," according to the FOX writers.  Cahill and Billingsley are the new names here, but it's unclear whether they fall under "known" or "thought."  The availability of Rodriguez will depend on whether Jim Crane is approved as new Astros owner next week, as Crane does not share Drayton McLane's reluctance to move the 32-year-old.


A’s Will Listen On Anyone But Weeks

The Athletics are willing to listen to trade offers for any player except Jemile Weeks, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The A’s aren’t sure where they’ll be playing in a few years, so their spending decisions appear to be on hold as they await word from MLB on a potential relocation to San Jose. 

Though Oakland GM Billy Beane isn’t shopping his players, he’ll listen to proposals for Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Kurt Suzuki and others. The A’s have more starting pitching than most teams and they may leverage their depth in trade talks.

If the A’s move to nearby San Jose, they would look to contend as their new park opened, likely in approximately three years, according to Rosenthal. However, if the A’s remain in Oakland, the team may strip down its payroll. I explained last month that the A's will be looking to restore outfield depth and improve their offense.


Gammons On A’s, Pirates, Royals, Rays

Starting pitching is one of the most valuable assets in the game and, as Peter Gammons explains at MLB.com, small-market teams usually have to rely on the draft to obtain it. Here are Gammons’ latest notes from around the league…

  • A's GM Billy Beane says his current rotation, a group that’s more or less untouchable, could be as good as Tim HudsonMark Mulder and Barry Zito were. Trevor Cahill has “become one of the best pitchers in the game,” according to Beane.
  • "Let's face it, no small-market team can afford to go into the market to get starting pitching,"  Beane told Gammons. "To survive and compete, you have to draft and develop pitching, or go out and get it before it's on the Major League radar screen."
  • Gammons reports that some expect the Pirates to take Virginia left-hander Danny Hultzen with the first overall pick this June. Click here for MLBTR's Q&A with Hultzen.
  • Georgia Tech Lefty Jed Bradley will likely disappear within the first ten picks of the draft, and Connecticut righty Matt Barnes will likely be a top-15 selection.
  • The Royals are looking for a college starter who can arrive in the Major Leagues and make an impact in the rotation soon.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore agrees that you need pitching to go along with premium position players. “They're not going to win if we don't find young, affordable pitching," Moore said.
  • The D’Backs, who hold two of the first seven picks this year (#3, #7), will take at least one arm early on and the Rays are also likely to take a number of pitchers with some of their many high picks.

A’s Young Starters Basically Untouchable

The A's will explore ways of upgrading their roster this season, but the youngest members of their rotation are 'basically untouchable,' according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Tyson Ross are likely staying put this summer, Olney reports.

Dallas Braden, now on the 15-day DL and Brandon McCarthy round out Oakland's rotation, which could be a constant for years to come. The A's have Anderson and Cahill under team control through 2015 and 2017, respectively. Ross isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, Gonzalez isn't eligible until after 2015 and Braden is under team control for 2012-13.

A's starters are first in the majors in ERA (2.59), second in innings pitched (236) and third in BB/9 (2.48) and xFIP (3.29). The early results are good and it wouldn't be hard to argue that Gonzalez (25), Ross (24), Cahill (23) and Anderson (23) have yet to reach their prime.

MLBTR's Luke Adams recently looked at Gonzalez as an extension candidate and I explained why the A's may choose to go year-to-year with Gonzalez and Braden instead of extending the left-handers.


A’s Notes: Gonzalez, Beane, Cahill

The A's announced their multiyear deal with Trevor Cahill today; here are some related notes and reactions to the deal:

  • Gio Gonzalez told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wouldn't mind a deal of his own (Twitter link). "It looks like everyone in the rotation is getting a deal. I'm crossing my fingers!" MLBTR's Luke Adams examined the possibility of a Gonzalez deal yesterday.
  • Billy Beane won't discuss which player(s) he's considering for possible extensions, but he told Slusser that extending young players is a template for success for small and mid-market teams (Twitter link).
  • As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes pointed out last month, Daric Barton is another extension candidate.
  • Beane says Cahill has impressed him by learning quickly, according to Slusser. "I've never seen someone make such great strides in such a short amount of time," Beane said (Twitter link).
  • For comparison's sake, I took a look at Brett Anderson's extension, signed a year ago this week.