Arizona Diamondbacks Attain Trevor Cahill, Craig Breslow from Oakland, Sent Prospects to Athletics

Kevin Towers wasn’t kidding when he said he was willing to deal some of his top prospects in order to immediately improve his major league roster.

Towers’ Diamondbacks acquired right-handed starter Trevor Cahill and left-handed reliever Craig Breslow from the Athletics in exchange for three prospects, prized right-hander Jarrod Parker, outfielder Collin Cowgill and right-hander Ryan Cook. According a to tweet from Nick Piecoro, Arizona is also receiving cash in the trade.

The biggest piece in this deal is Cahill, who has pitched at least 178 innings in his first three big league seasons. His big year came in 2010 where in 196.2 innings, the 23-year-old won 18 games while putting together a 2.97 ERA and striking out 118 batters in the always tough American League.

Cahill regressed a bit during 2011 in his third major league season. He saw his ERA spike up to 4.16 and his win totals dip to a total of 12. Cahill improved on his strikeout totals, but he also had issues throwing strikes.  The right walked 82 in 207 innings, which translated to 3.6 walks per nine innings, the same total he had during his rookie season.

As far as his contract goes, Cahill can remain in a Diamondbacks uniform for the next several seasons after signing a contract extension with Oakland in April. Here is a rundown of his contract situation according to the Sporting News.

Cahill will make $3.5 million in 2012, $5.5 million in 2013, $7.7 million in 2014 and $12 million in 2015. The club options are worth $13 million in 2016 (with a $300,000 buyout) and $13.5 million in 2017 (with a $500,000 buyout).

Over the last several seasons, Breslow has been one of the most effective left-handed relievers in all of the American League. Ever since he put on an A’s uniform in 2009, the lefty has appeared in a total of 202 games. His best year came in his first season down by the Bay, where he had a 2.60 ERA in 55.1 innings. Last year, Breslow had a 3.67 ERA in 67 outings.

Breslow’s contract situation is much different than Cahill’s. After making $1.4 million this past season, Breslow is going into his second year of arbitration. After another good year, he is more likely slated to make $2-2.5 million if the Diamondbacks don’t sign him to a new deal.

In order to get two quality arms, the Diamondbacks had to give up some talent in return. The clear center in the deal for Billy Beane and the A’s was Parker. The right-hander was considered one of the top prospects in the game before he missed the entire 2010 season because of Tommy John surgery.

Despite missing an entire season of game action, the 23-year-old really didn’t miss a beat throwing Double-A Mobile in 2011. In 26 starts, Parker went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts and struck out 112 innings in 130.2 innings. Because of his nice bounceback season, Parker even got a start with the big league club at the end of September and made the postseason roster.

Cowgill and Cook aren’t as highly touted by scouts, but they are two guys who could contribute for Oakland as soon as next season.

The 25-year-old Cowgill hit .354 with 13 homers and 70 RBI’s in 98 games at Triple-A Reno, but struggled once the Diamondbacks called him up to the big league level. Cook was the same way as he was nearly unhittable at Double-A and Triple-A in 2011, but he had an ERA over seven in 12 games with Arizona.

In my view, this is a tremendous move for the Diamondbacks. Yes, they gave up a possible future ace, but there is still plenty of pitching depth in the minors with Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley and many others. It is clear that this organization is in a win now mode and as a fan, it is hard to knock that.

The Diamondbacks instantly get a very good and steady number three starter who is a big upgrade over Joe Saunders. Cahill is also young enough where he has a lot of room for improvement. Arizona also got their second left-hander for their bullpen alongside Joe Paterson. Finding another lefty for the ‘pen was one of the top needs for the D’Backs heading into the offseason.

Mark this deal as a big time success for the D’Backs.

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