Investing in Trevor Cahill


Trevor Cahill needs to spend quality time with Dave Duncan. Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past ten days or so, my colleague Joe Jacquez and I have been speculating on who the Arizona Diamondbacks might target in free agency. Every one of our posts has been about potentially signing a starting pitcher, a spot in which the D’backs desperately need help. It is no lock that Arizona will ink anyone for the rotation given their limited payroll constraints at the moment and the lack of a true difference-maker they can afford. With that in mind, the team needs to somehow get any kind of production out of Trevor Cahill.

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Let’s assume that the wayward sinkerballer will be hard to deal. The D’backs are paying him $12 million dollars for 2015 and options totaling $26.5 million over the following two seasons. It would make sense to have Cahill spend time in the offseason with noted pitching guru Dave Duncan. So what if Duncan is semi-retired?  He is on the D’backs’ payroll, isn’t he? Many pitchers over the years have worked with Duncan and have had their games flourish. One of the most famous would be Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Another pitcher who would be more along the lines of Cahill would be Joel Pineiro.

The right-handed Pineiro won 16 games and led the American League in shutouts with two in 2003 while with the Mariners. He then experienced a steep decline, going 22-37 before being traded to the Cardinals during the 2007 season. Some work with Duncan resulted in a 6-4 record with a 3.96 ERA for the remainder of 2007. He dropped off again the following season before rebounding in 2009 with a mark of 15-12 and a 3.49 ERA, this time leading the National League in shutouts with two.

Trading Cahill while he has little to no value may not make much sense, anyway. Arizona would probably have to take on a significant portion of his salary, maybe somewhere along the lines of 65%-75%. Plus, no team in their right mind would offer anything of value in return. The best option for the D’backs is right in their own house. Have Cahill spend as much time with Duncan as possible even if it means cleaning his house or washing his car. If he can’t be saved by the All-star break, then it is time to pull the plug.