The A's traded Trevor Cahill, even though he was signed through 2015 with options that could extend him through 2017. That says one of two things to me:
a. The A's found a family of raccoons living in Cahill's arm. They moved in right around the All-Star break. They aren't exactly chewing on things yet, but they're running out of wilted lettuce and coffee grounds.
b. The A's saw the news about the Angels and Pujols, and figured that there was really no point to keep anyone making over the major-league minimum. Fire sale. Moar prospects. What's going to happen, season-ticket sale goes away? They'll just call Pete and offer a discount.
Thinking it's a combination -- a desire not to get stuck with an injured/ineffective pitcher while he's on the hook for $30 million, and jumping on the chance to replace him with a fresh-armed rookie who's on the hook for about $.5 million, but only if he makes the roster. It kind of makes sense.
But what if the A's are wrong? What if Cahill isn't damaged goods, and what if he's the pitcher he was in 2010 and the first half of last year, and if he's like that for a few good years hanging out at the top of the Diamondbacks' rotation with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, and Josh Collmenter, with Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs coming up behind them? What happens then?
I'll tell you what happens: the Giants have trouble hitting. That would be awful.
For next year, I'm pretty sure Cahill is an improvement, which is just swell news for the Giants, who can't afford Rafael Furcal, Alex Gonzalez, or the other Alex Gonzalez. The good get better, and the tough get Melky. But I'm not as distraught as I was when the Diamondbacks acquired Dan Haren, who was at his peak. Cahill is still a bit of an unknown -- his ERA+ was 97 last year, and it's not like you can just project young pitchers to automatically improve with age, like we tend to do with young hitters.
The worst part of this trade, for me is that now I'm hoping that second-half Cahill is what we can expect:
Cahill was one of my favorite non-Giant pitchers, and now I have to hope he's not good anymore. Here's hoping that his sinker muntered at some point for no good reason. Because if his awful second half was just a fluky thing, well, the Diamondbacks just picked up a starting pitcher who regularly humiliates the Giants. I mean, they all do, but this one *really* does.