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Hot Stove: The Diamondbacks Acquire Trevor Cahill
Reggie Yinger | Saturday December 10th, 2011
Arizona bolsters their starting rotation by acquiring Cahill. (Icon SMI)
Arizona bolsters their starting rotation by acquiring Cahill. (Icon SMI)

In an effort to bolster their starting rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill and left reliever Craig Breslow from the Oakland Athletics for prospect Jarrod Parker, outfielder Collin Cowgill, and reliever Ryan Cook.

In addition to Cahill and Breslow, the Diamondbacks will also receive cash from Oakland. Cahill could be the start of many moves for the Athletics, as it appears they are in rebuilding mode this off-season. The team is also rumored to be shopping left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey.

Cahill, 23, went 40-35 with a 3.91 ERA with the A's over three big league seasons. In 2010, Cahill won 18 games and compiled a 2.97 ERA in 30 starts. However, in 2011, Cahill went 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA in a career high 34 starts. Although Cahill's numbers fell-off in 2011, he posted 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings last season, compared to 4.5 in 2009 and 5.4 in 2010.

After winning the National League West in 2011, general manager Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks appear to be serious about repeating during the 2012 season. Cahill will join an already young rotation that consists of Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy, and Josh Collmenter. Arizona not only improved their rotation, but will also have Cahill signed through 2015 at a low cost ($28.7 million) - with team options for 2016 and 2017.

Craig Breslow comes over to join the much improved Arizona bullpen. Breslow, 31, has a career 12-17 record with a 3.06 ERA in six big league seasons. He's spent the past three seasons with the Athletics. He has a career 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) to go along with his 3.8 walks per nine innings (BB/9).  He will be a free agent after the 2013 season.

In return for Cahill and Breslow, the centerpiece player the Athletics received was righthander Jarrod Parker. Parker, 23, was the number one prospect according to Baseball America for the Arizona Diamondbacks three years in a row prior to the 2012 season. He missed the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery, but bounced back nicely in 2011. After regaining his command late in 2011, he made his big league debut during the month of September for the D-backs while also making the postseason roster. In three minor league seasons for Arizona, Parker was 28-19 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Collin Cowgill hit .354/.430/.554 with 13 home runs and 70 RBI for the Triple-A Reno Aces last season. Cowgill, 25, appeared in 36 games for the Diamondbacks last season after July call-up. In 100 plate appearances, he hit .239/.300/.304 with one home run. He projects to be a fourth outfielder for the Athletics next season.

Reliever Ryan Cook is a 24-year-old righthander who appeared in 12 games with Arizona in 2011. He was 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. Over four seasons in the Arizona minor league organization, he was 19-26 with a 3.74 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

At first glance, the trade looks like a sure win for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They acquire a young, big league ready pitcher that is under team control for the next five years. Arizona seems to feel confident that they will be able to contend in the NL West for years to come based on their success under manager Kirk Gibson in 2011. 

For the Athletics, it seems as if they gave up too much on their end just to end up with a prospect and two below-to-average players. Oakland is taking a risk and hoping that Parker will develop into a pitcher who can be the ace of the staff.

From a fantasy standpoint, Cahill joining Arizona means that he goes from being the ace of one pitching staff to a third stater on another staff. In three big league seasons, Cahill had one really good season in 2010, aided by a .236 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). His 2009 and 2010 seasons were not particularly impressive and his strikeout ratios, although improving each season, are still very underwhelming for fantasy owners. While it's a good deal for "real" baseball and the Diamondbacks to acquire a young pitcher under team control for several seasons, the move doesn't do much to boast Cahill's fantasy value.
Reggie YingerReggie is a writer and the co-founder of Baseball Press. He enjoys fantasy baseball and hates when players bunt in baseball.