Pittsburgh Pirates Hot Stove Target: Trevor Cahill

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The Pittsburgh Pirates lost J.A. Happ to the Blue Jays, but is another reclamation project waiting in the wings?

ESPN’s Buster Olney let us in on a nugget regarding the next possible Pittsburgh Pirates fix-up project.

Trevor Cahill likely won’t be able to soothe the sting of losing Happ entirely by name alone, but fans may be able to get excited about him after a deeper look.

First, let’s view his career numbers:

YearTmWLW-L%ERAGGSCGIPHRERHRBBSOFIPWHIPSO/W
2009OAK1013.4354.6332320178.218599922772905.331.4381.25
2010 ★OAK188.6922.9730301196.2155736519631184.191.1081.87
2011OAK1214.4624.1634340207.22141029619821474.101.4251.79
2012ARI1312.5203.7832322200.0184938416741563.851.2902.11
2013ARI810.4443.9926250146.2143706513651024.261.4181.57
2014ARI312.2005.6132170110.212376699551053.891.6081.91
2015TOT13.2505.40263043.1442726416363.921.3852.25

As with many such projects, the numbers on Cahill don’t exactly inspire confidence. Cahill has not started regularly since mid-2014, following two years of struggling with control. That control came returned to a degree in 2015 as Cahill spent the vast majority of the year in the bullpen. Although he has put up some truly crooked ERA figures in the past, it’s clear that there was some bad luck involved – in the past two years at least – with a FIP that is a full 1.5 runs lower than the earned run average.

What might make Cahill enticing to potential suitors are his groundball rates. Cahill clocks in at an outstanding 55% groundball rate for his career, highlighted by a 63.1% figure in 2015. That 2015 figure came by an impressive 3.57 GB/FB (groundball to flyball) ratio.

Cahill’s pitch repertoire is an interesting one. The typical “Pirates pitches” are there, with a cutter, sinker, and curve all in play. What’s surprising is the sheer lack of a four-seam fastball. Thrown only 1.31% of the time – a minuscule 10 times in total as per Brook’s Baseball- in 2015, Cahill’s fastball stays in his holster.

Cahill may not have been a name on many Pittsburgh Pirates fans’ minds, but after taking a look, he may be a perfect fit. He’ll come on the cheap, allowing the club to allocate funds elsewhere, and would provide a great one-year bridge to Tyler Glasnow.

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