Right-hander Trevor Cahill is nearing a contract with a yet-unknown club, reports Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area (Twitter link). That club is not the A’s, however, according to Stiglich. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported last week (Twitter link) that the Pirates were one club that Cahill was considering. He’s said to be looking for a one-year bounceback deal, according to Olney.
Cahill, a client of agent John Boggs, enjoyed a renaissance in the bullpen after signing a minor league deal with the Cubs midway through the season. While the D-backs, Braves and Dodgers all seemingly gave up on him in various ways last season, Chicago received 17 brilliant innings of relief from the former starter in a relief role down the stretch. Cahill yielded just four runs in those 17 innings and recorded an outstanding 22-to-5 K/BB ratio to go along with an as-always excellent ground-ball rate: 61.8 percent. He also pitched 5 1/3 innings in the postseason, allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks with eight strikeouts (3.38 ERA).
That late surge in the ’pen is a small sample, to be sure, but it undoubtedly piqued the interest of numerous clubs seeking bullpen help. Boggs recently told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that Cahill hoped to return to a rotation, though he added that his client would be open to a bullpen role if a starting job didn’t materialize. It’s tough to envision a contending club promising Cahill a rotation spot based on 22 1/3 innings — however strong they might’ve been — but a rebuilding club could look to plug him into the rotation as a low-cost, high-upside option and hope he pitches himself either into a trade chip or extension candidate. Cahill is, after all, still just 27 years of age. A resurgence from a pitcher that young that was once a rock-solid rotation piece in Oakland and Arizona (2010-12) certainly isn’t out of the question.