Trevor Cahill is worth the money

Recently, he signed a 5/$30.5mil extension with Oakland. So it will buy out three arbitration seasons, and another year of free agency. The deal will run through his age 23-27 seasons.

I like this deal. Look, Cahill may not be as good as his ERA and other basic numbers suggest. He had an ugly 5.33 FIP in 2009, and the difference between his FIP and ERA in 2010 was 1.22. But he is still a young pitcher, who was considered a top prospect. Not all pitchers turn into Cy Young out of the gate. He is a ground ball pitcher, which is always a plus. His career GB rate thus far has been 51.9%. That is key since he is not a strikeout pitcher- yet. So far in the majors he has never had K/9 above 5.4. BUT, in the minors he had some very high K rates. Does that mean he will become a strikeout king one day? Probably not- but it does show he has the potential and skill to develop into a pitcher who can strikeout a fair amount of batters. Once he does that, assuming he keeps a good GB rate, he could be a very good pitcher, especially since he pitches in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Cahill posted a 2.2 fWAR in 2010, which meant his value was $8.7mil. For a 22 year old, that’s pretty damn good.

The payout of his contract looks like this:

2011- $1.5mil

2012- $3.5mil

2013- $5.5mil

2014- $7.7mil

2015- $12mil

So, he was originally making $440K this season, but that bumps up to $1.5mil. However, he will certainly be worth more than $1.5mil this year, so that’s a good saving for Oakland. For his arbitration years, I think Oakland will not be saving too much in terms of what he would have made through arbitration. $3.5mil was a realistic number for his first year of arbitration and using the 40/60/80 scale, he would have made $5.6mil in 2013 and $10mil in 2014. So there is some saving there. HOWEVER, if he continues to develop as he matures, Cahill would be worth more than a total of $16.7mil from 2012-2014.

Looking at his free agency year, he would have been 27 years old, and I would assume a good pitcher who made between $8-$10mil in his last year of arbitration. I can only imagine $12mil per year would have been a starting point for his services.

So yes, I like this deal for Oakland. Cahill is not a star yet, and may never be a star, but Oakland is locking up a quality pitcher for less than his market value.

My one concern is what this means for the teams other young players. It’s not secret the A’s are a frugal and if this potentially keeps them from locking up a Daric Barton or Gio Gonzalez as well, then I may re-question this deal. Until then, it gets a thumbs up from me.

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