Yankees Should Take a Chance on Trevor Cahill in Their Rotation
Former All-Star starting pitcher Trevor Cahill wants to return to the rotation next year after working primarily out of the bullpen the last two seasons, and the New York Yankees should be the team that gives him a shot.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, free agent Trevor Cahill is marketing himself as a starting pitcher this winter, a savvy move on a market that is sorely lacking capable options at that position. The New York Yankees are said to be prioritizing adding pitching help in the coming months, and Cahill has an intriguing resume.
Still just 28 years old, Cahill was pretty excellent as a reliever for the Chicago Cubs last year, pitching to a 2.74 ERA in 65.2 IP while striking out 23.2% of the batters he faced (9.1 K/9). He did surrender free passes at an alarming 12.5% clip (4.8 BB/9), but that has always been part of the package with Cahill even at his best.
While he was absolutely bombed as both a starter and reliever from 2014-2015, Cahill had a nice five-year run as a quality mid-rotation option with the Athletics and Diamondbacks from 2009-2013, putting up a 3.89 ERA and 4.33 FIP in 929.2 IP (153 GS) across those seasons. He accumulated 11.8 WAR according to Baseball-Reference’s metric over those five seasons.
One of the benefits of the Yankees signing Cahill is they could employ him in a swingman role along with the versatile Adam Warren. New York could use the two vets to fill their two open rotation spots out of spring training, allowing them to take it slow with promising youngsters like Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, and Chad Green, who could potentially use more seasoning in Triple-A.
If one of the young starters earns a look in the rotation, it would be easy enough to slide either Cahill or Warren into a short relief role, where they both were very successful last year.
Interestingly, another member of the 2016 Cubs bullpen, Travis Wood, is also selling himself as a starter this winter. Wood and Cahill are pretty similar in that they’ve had success as starters in the past, had a period of struggling, and recovered their stride last season as relievers for Chicago.
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Unlike even the most mediocre starters available this winter, Cahill shouldn’t cost a ton to bring in. He made $4.25 million with the Cubs last year, and a one-year $6-8 million deal feels about right. When a guy like Edinson Volquez with a 5.37 ERA in 2016 gets two years and $22 million, Cahill has the potential to be a real bargain at that price.