The offseason seems to be moving at a snail’s pace, but the Yankees have made some pretty significant moves at this point. Not only have they taken steps to improve the offense by signing Matt Holliday, but they also got rid of the dead weight that would have been Brian McCann, and strengthened the bullpen by bringing back Aroldis Chapman. Despite these moves, pitching continues to be an area of concern. After the Chapman deal, Brian Cashman indicated that the team may be strapped for cash, but the Yankees could benefit from signing one (or two) of the cheaper pitching options on the market. Could Trevor Cahill be a good fit?
2016 Statistics: 65.2 IP, 2.74 ERA, 4.35 FIP, 9.05 K/9, 4.80 BB/9
Age on Opening Day 2017: 29
Cahill was drafted by the Athletics in the second round of the 2006 MLB Draft. He worked his way through their system as a starting pitcher before making his debut in 2009. After three years in Oakland with a sub-4.00 ERA, Cahill was traded to the Diamondbacks. The right-hander put together one of his best seasons in 2012, finishing the year with a 3.78 ERA and 3.85 FIP. Things did not go as smoothly in 2013. He missed roughly six weeks with a hip contusion after he was hit by a line drive (and also tweaked his pitching shoulder while playing catch).
Unfortunately, Cahill’s 2014 season was even worse. During his first fours starts, Cahill gave up 18 earned runs through 17 and two-thirds innings. Seemingly lost on the mound, the Diamondbacks pulled Cahill from the rotation and threw him into the bullpen. In June, the Diamondbacks designated Cahill for assignment. He went unclaimed, so Arizona sent him to Single-A (!) to work on his mechanics. Cahill eventually joined the Diamondbacks’ rotation during mid-July, but still finished the second half with a 5.58 ERA. Working primarily out of the bullpen, Cahill split the 2015 between the Braves, the Dodgers’ farm system, and the Cubs.
The Cubs brought Cahill back in 2016 on a one-year deal worth $4.2 million, and he certainly rebounded from a poor 2015 season. His 9.05 K/9 was the highest of his career, though the same can be said of his 4.80 BB/9. Just like the previous year, Cahill spent most of the season as a reliever, but he did start one game against the Brewers, and tossed five scoreless innings during that appearance. He also was plagued by injuries once again, missing roughly a month with a knee injury.
Though he’s spent the past two years as a reliever, Cahill is said to be seeking a starting job. As the old saying goes, you can never have too many pitchers. It wouldn’t hurt to sign Cahill to a cheap, one-year deal to see what he has left in the tank. The Yankees certainly have a need for both starting pitchers and relievers, and it might be better to expand their options. Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Richard Bleier, and the rest of the group all deserve a shot to make the team during spring training, but the Yankees should continue to seek external help.