Can The Padres Learn From Trevor Cahill?


DFA’d Trevor Cahill is having a bad year.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, as reported by Ken Rosenthal, the Arizona Diamondbacks designated Trevor Cahill for assignment. What this means is that other teams have 10 days to claim him on waivers or the Diamondbacks can send him to AAA, which he is said to have already accepted.

Now most likely, no team will claim him based on his high salary and poor results this season. He still has $17 million owed him through the remainder of this season and next, and of course has been pitching bad enough to get to this point to begin with. He was demoted after several lousy starts and now is only pitching sporadically in long relief.

The hard part for Diamondbacks fans, is that they traded three quality major league players for Cahill before the 2012 season. Part of this has to be credited to Billy Beane, GM of the Athletics, but now they are left with nothing to show for it. His best year in Arizona was in fact 2012, when he went 13-12 with a 3.70 ERA.

Should the Padres look at him? Almost certainly not. Despite the success Ian Kennedy has had since coming over from the desert to the beach, his contract isn’t as prohibitive and Kennedy had a better ‘best’ season than Cahill has had. If a club can afford one “high-risk, high reward” try a season, the Padres wasted theirs on Josh Johnson already.

What I like about this move, is both the Diamondbacks’ ability to acknowledge this pitcher won’t get any better at the major league level and needs some work. Contract obligations, service-time rules or not, let’s right the ship on this guy before he becomes Dontrelle Willis. Recently, the Padres were considering sending 2nd year Jedd Gyorko down to the minors. Instead, he was placed on the DL, but don’t you always think it’s a little fishy when right before someone is supposed to go to the minors they are placed on the DL? I’m not doubting he was hurt, but I am doubting the extent of the injury and the timing of it. That tough call where Bud Black or Josh Byrnes sits down Gyorko and say, “Jedd, you are not performing how you should be. Let’s get you some time in the minors to work it out.”

Instead, there were articles written about his prior poor starts, etc.. Now, the team doctor comes up with an injury to help mentally justify even to Gyorko, “Ah, that was the problem. Not my mechanics. The injury!”  Great lengths are extended to protect players egos, when sometimes they just need more seasoning and humbling. Cahill is just 26-years-old – just a year older than Gyorko – and it’s smarter to work something out now than for him to toil at the majors and be a non-factor for the club. In a season where the D’backs are miraculously playing worse than the Padres, they are looking to the future. They are counting that Cahill can turn things around and hopefully by next season be back on his game and in the starting rotation.

Meanwhile, the Padres refuse to make any bold moves to their starters sitting at the .200 batting level. Will Venable? Chase Headley? Eric Stults? Another MLB situation is that of Dan Uggla, who is now being benched while getting paid a ton of money. When do you make that call and just cut bait?

For his sake, I hope that Cahill can regain the form and continue a productive major league career. Kudos to Arizona GM Kevin Towers for not being afraid to make a tough call on a young, talented pitcher that is a financial loser in the present, in order to protect a long-term baseball future for the team and the individual.