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Trevor Cahill traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks

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Texas Ranger nemesis Trevor Cahill, formerly of the Oakland A's, has been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, along with reliever Craig Breslow, in exchange for Jarrod Parker, Colin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook.

Cahill, you know. A second round draft pick in 2006, he was, along with Brett Anderson, the dynamic one-two pitching prospect duo that the A's had a few years back, who we compared to the Rangers' duo of Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland.

After a rough 2009 campaign, Cahill posted a 2.97 ERA in 2010 that resulted in an All Star berth and a 9th place finish in the Cy Young balloting, although his peripherals were unimpressive. Last season saw his K rate and walk rate each shoot up by about 1 per 9, and he posted a 4.16 ERA, good for a 97 ERA+. He is owed $30 million through 2015, with team options for 2016 and 2017 in the $13 million range.

2009 21 OAK AL 10 13 .435 4.63 32 32 178.2 185 99 92 27 72 1 90 96 1.438 9.3 1.4 3.6 4.5 1.25
2010 22 OAK AL 18 8 .692 2.97 30 30 196.2 155 73 65 19 63 1 118 138 1.108 7.1 0.9 2.9 5.4 1.87
2011 23 OAK AL 12 14 .462 4.16 34 34 207.2 214 102 96 19 82 1 147 97 1.425 9.3 0.8 3.6 6.4 1.79
3 Seasons 40 35 .533 3.91 96 96 583.0 554 274 253 65 217 3 355 107 1.322 8.6 1.0 3.3 5.5 1.64
162 Game Avg. 14 12 .533 3.91 34 34 206 196 97 90 23 77 1 126 107 1.322 8.6 1.0 3.3 5.5 1.64
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

Parker is the prize in this deal, a righthander drafted #9 overall in the 2007 draft, and who has ranked anywhere from #29 to #46 in the Baseball America top 100 rankings since the first year he was eligible, even after the 2010 season, which he missed because of Tommy John surgery. He pitched this season at AA Mobile, struck out a lot of guys, and walked a fair number of guys. BA had him as the #5 prospect in the Southern League this season, behind Matt Moore, Tyler Skaggs, Paul Goldschmidt, and Brett Jackson.

Collin Cowgill seems like the ultimate A's player. First of all, he just sounds like an A -- "Collin Cowgill." Secondly, he's a tweener outfielder who probably won't hit enough to be an impact player in a corner spot and doesn't have enough range to be a quality defender in center. He draws some walks, strikes out a fair amount, and didn't hit much in 100 plate appearances this season after being called up by Arizona. And he turns 26 in May. Even BA, who had him as the #20 prospect in the PCL, says he "may profile better as a fourth outfielder who plays with a lot of energy" than as a regular.

Sounds like the A's just got the new Eric Byrnes, here.

Finally, there is Ryan Cook. Cook is a 24 year old reliever who had a 7.04 ERA in a brief stint in Arizona this year. He's someone you figure they'll throw in the bullpen mix and hope will turn out to be decent so they can trade him a few years later.

The initial reaction seems to be that this isn't much of a return for Cahill, and that's true, if you buy the notion that Cahill is a future top of the rotation starter. Cahill seems to me, though, to be more like former A's starter Joe Blanton, a guy who put up one fluky season with a sparkling ERA, but who is more of a league average inning eater. He doesn't miss a bunch of bats, and his walk rate is problematic for someone with his K issues. Of 94 qualifying pitchers last season, only 11 had worse K/BB ratios than Cahill.

On the plus side, the Rangers don't have to deal with Cahill anymore. He has a 2.78 career ERA in 97 innings against the Rangers, and a 9-4 record. So getting him out of Oakland is good there.

This is also probably an indication that the A's are going into rebuilding mode. The last few years, Oakland seems to have focused more on getting short-term guys on the cheap who, if they panned out, could put the A's in contention. With the departure of Cahill, and the potential departure of Andrew Bailey and Gio Gonzalez, who are on the block, this could be an indication Billy Beane and Company aren't planning on competing in the near future.