This off-season, the San Diego Padres were looking for pitching depth to bolster their already championship-ready team. Just kidding.
The harsh reality is the Padres are years away from contention, so A.J. Preller and company just wanted to acquire veteran pitchers to eat innings for them. They signed many borderline starters, including San Diego native, Trevor Cahill.
Entering spring training, Cahill was competing for a starting job, along with many other Padres, after serving as a reliever for parts of two seasons with the Cubs. Doesn’t this story sound familiar? It should. Former Padre, Drew Pomeranz, came into his first and only season with the Padres with a similar story. Pomeranz was traded for, while Cahill was merely signed.
That isn’t the only similarity between Cahill and Pomeranz. Both Trevor Cahill and Drew Pomeranz have had a strong start to their first season in America’s Finest City. In Pomeranz’s case, that strong start propelled him into being a very valuable trade piece, allowing the Padres to acquire top prospect Anderson Espinoza from the Boston Red Sox.
I believe that is what A.J. Preller was doing all along this off-season. He acquired veteran talent for future possible trade pieces at the deadline. Preller was hoping that at least one of his signings would turn out to be a valuable pitcher that teams sought after. We might have that in Cahill.
If Cahill continues to pitch as well as he has, he will definitely be traded before the deadline. Cahill has pitched in six games so far this season. He is 2-3 with a 3.06 ERA, 44 strikeouts, and 16 walks in 35.1 innings pitched. A very respectable season so far, that he is sure to be proud of. At this time last year, Drew Pomeranz was 3-3 with a 2.12 ERA, 41 strikeouts, and 16 walks in 34 innings pitched. A very similar start to the season. Also, through six starts they had the same exact WAR of 0.77. With very similar stats, it is very encouraging that the Padres can possibly wrestle another big time prospect from a contender at the deadline.
I believe Preller can continue to do this throughout the Padres’ rebuilding years. Keep signing veteran pitchers, and later trade them for prospects. It seems like Andy Green, and especially Darren Balsley have a knack for rejuvenating veteran pitchers and turning them into valuable assets. There is a reason Darren Balsley has been with the organization since 2003 and has worked under three Padres managers. Simply put, he is the best pitching coach in all of baseball and makes pitchers much better. As long as Darren Balsley is manning the Padres’ pitching staff, A.J. Preller has the ability to do what he did last year with Drew Pomeranz.
All we can hope for is that Trevor Cahill keeps up the pace and doesn’t slow down. Toward the middle of the season, Pomeranz got even better. At the time he was traded to the Boston Red Sox, he was 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA, 115 strikeouts, 41 walks, in 102 innings pitched. If Cahill even comes close to that performance, he will surely be traded for an up and coming young prospect.
Trading away Cahill is nothing to groan about. As I previously stated, that was the plan for him all along. By the time the Padres are contenders, Cahill will be in his mid 30’s anyway. There is no use in keeping him through the rebuilding years if we can get something quality in return this trade deadline. It is without a doubt that I say Trevor Cahill can be the next Drew Pomeranz. Cahill has the grit, and definitely the stuff, to give quality innings to a club contending at the end of the season. So don’t get too attached to Trevor Cahill, because he will be the Drew Pomeranz of this 2017 season. He will be traded at or before this year’s trade deadline (health permitted).