When the Arizona Diamondbacks traded for Trevor Cahill of the Oakland A’s during the Winter Meetings in 2011, the team was looking for him to be a front line starter to help defend their National League West Division title. At the time, the expectations that G.M Kevin Towers and the rest of the front office had for Trevor weren’t that big of a stretch. While he didn’t have the best 2011 going 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA, he had a Cy Young-caliber 2010 going 18-8 with 2.97 ERA. In 2012, he had a pretty good season going 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA in what was an otherwise down year for the D’backs. If the teams wants to win in 2014, they need Cahill to return to his 2010 form . Regardless, the big righty is under team control for the next two years, so if the D’backs don’t like his performance they could trade him with the young arms coming up. However, if he wants his options extended for 2016 and 2017 he needs to start performing more consistently.
How 2013 went: Cahill’s disappointing year in 2013 was definitely a factor in the D’backs’ second straight 81-81 season. He went 8-10 with a pretty respectable ERA of 3.99 but Arizona is expecting more out of the veteran sinkerballer. Cahill has had trouble focusing and finding consistency early in his outings as evidenced by his 6.35 ERA in the first inning during his time with Arizona. He struggled mightily in the month of June: in six starts he went 0-5 with a 6.35 ERA. Control has also been a problem. He walks too many batters and he tends to leave his sinker up in the zone resulting in it getting crushed all over the field. For Trevor to succeed in 2014, he needs to find a way to establish his command, control, and sinker early in the game and just have confidence in the first inning. That comes with trusting his stuff and the game plan he puts together with the catcher and the coaching staff.
Outlook for 2014: So far in Spring Training he is giving the D’backs reason for optimism that he will get back to the pitcher he was in 2010. In his live BP sessions it seems as though he is really commanding his pitches well and is not over-thinking things which he tended to do in 2013. It seems like Trevor is confident in his stuff this Spring (quote via Steve Gilbert at mlb.com):
"“I feel like, right now early in spring, you’re just trying to have at least two pitches,” he said. “Obviously fastball command and then, like today, I was getting my curveball over for strikes, and last time my changeup was good. So as long as you have two pitches each time out as the games start, maybe you can kind of put them all together.”"
Now he has to put it all together and pitch well during Cactus League games to show the coaching staff he is ready to be a staple in the D’backs’ rotation. I am not going to predict an 18 win season like he had in 2010, but based on what I have seen out of Trevor this Spring, I am going to predict he has a bounce back campaign going 13-9 with a 3.50 ERA.