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Season review: Trevor Cahill

The Giants got some good things from the veteran right-hander.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Next up on the San Francisco Giants season review list is veteran right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill.

Season stats

11 games (6 starts), 25 innings, 16 hits, 14 walks, 2 hit by pitch, 3 home runs, 31 strikeouts, 1.200 WHIP

3.24 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 0.5 rWAR, 0.4 fWAR

Status throughout the season

Cahill was hampered by a fingernail issue that forced him to miss much of Summer Camp, as well as the start of the season. He was added to the active roster on Aug. 12, and stayed on the roster until the season ended.

Season review

Farhan Zaidi, Scott Harris, and the Giants coaching and developmental team have gotten a lot of credit in the last year for helping players turn in a corner, and for good reason. Mike Yastrzemski, Donovan Solano, and Austin Slater taking off is extremely important. As is Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford reversing regression and returning to their hot-hitting ways.

But in praising those big gains, it’s easy to overlook the smaller ones. But they are vital. And that brings us to Trevor Cahill.

Cahill did not have a remarkable season, but he did have a good season. More notably, he had a good season just one year removed from an atrocious season. It’s not the first time he’s followed up a really bad season with a good one, so maybe it’s just a weird thing he does, but it feels like the Giants targeted an underperforming veteran, helped him get back on track, and then reaped the rewards.

He was steady all year. He was the starter in his first six appearances, and while he averaged just 3.1 innings per start, he allowed more than 2 runs just once. He then moved to the bullpen, where he allowed just 1 unearned run in five appearances.

It was a bunch of seasons like Cahill’s that gave the Giants stars a decent platform on which to shine, and helped San Francisco nearly steal a spot in the postseason. We’ve come to expect guys in Cahill’s role to be a liability for the Giants, but the veteran was anything but.

He struck out 11.2 batters per nine innings (a career high), though also issued 5.0 walks per nine (also a career high). I don’t think “electric” is quite the word to describe him, but there were times where the movement and life on his pitches was quite mesmerizing, and on those days he was an absolute joy to watch.

Role in 2021

Cahill signed a Minor League contract with the Giants in February, and if he’s still available on a Minor League deal in 2021 the Giants will surely pounce on it. More likely, his performance in 2020 will earn him a modest Major League contract, with the Giants or with someone else.

I would expect San Francisco to be interested in retaining Cahill to use in something of a Yusmeiro Petit role: pitching in meaningful spots out of the bullpen, and filling in when the rotation is thin.


Good teams have a lot of players who are quietly above average, and that’s what Cahill was.



How would you grade Trevor Cahill’s season?

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