On December 9th, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics pulled off the first big trade of the offseason. The D'backs received pitchers Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow for prospects Jarrod Parker (SP), Collin Cowgill (OF) and Ryan Cook (RP).
Let's take a look at the players that may be of interest to us this season.
The player of interest for those in mixed leagues is Cahill, who will turn 24 in March. While his ratios took a turn for the worst last season, Cahill has the pedigree to turn it around. He was ninth in the Cy Young voting as a 22-year old in 2010 and has the potential to get back in that same discussion in 2012. Cahill's K/9 has gone up every season (4.5/5.4/6.4), and I see that trend continuing.
Any time a pitcher moves from the AL to the NL, you can expect an improvement in his ERA and WHIP because he doesn't have to face a DH anymore. In Cahill's case, he now gets to pitch against the offensively-challenged NL West quite frequently, which can only enhance this effect.
When I think of Cahill I can't get Brandon Webb out of my mind. They are both power sinker pitchers that generate a ton of ground balls and have a similar strikeout rate. If Cahill can cut down on the walks, I think he can have the same kind of success in Arizona as the former Cy Young winner had.
Factoring in 2012 and beyond, which team won this trade?
Parker is the main piece heading back to Oakland. The 23-year-old has been in the top 50 each of the last four years in Baseball America's top prospect list. After missing 2010 due to Tommy John surgery, Parker posted a 3.79 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP while striking out 7.7 batters per nine innings for AA Mobile. He won't be drafted in mixed leagues but he's worth keeping an eye on in case he starts the season in the A's rotation.
Cowgill was tearing it up in the minors to the tune of .354/.430/.554 before being called up late last season. He had 13 dingers and 30 stolen bases in 395 at bats for Triple-A Reno. He didn't do so well with the D'backs, however. I blame it on a lack of consistent playing time, which will also be a question mark in Oakland. He has just as good a shot as Josh Reddick, Brandon Allen and Michael Taylor to be a starting outfielder for the A's in 2012.
Like Parker, Cowgill won't be drafted in mixed leagues but keep tabs on the youngster. I see 15 home run and 20 stolen base potential if given a chance this season.
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