When the Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager, Kevin Towers, explained to reporters that “when (he) makes a deal, (he) sticks by it”, little did he know that he may have just been driving the nail into his own coffin. That kind of strong, “stick-to-it” attitude can be a good thing to find in a leader, but when responsibility for a poor decision- or many poor decisions – is needed to be taken, that leader should step-up and shoulder the responsibility. Instead, Towers does not “watch the other guys” in order to see if he is “winning the deal.” Unfortunately for Mr. Towers, he has not been winning in much of any of his deals.
In the most recent example of just that, ex-starting pitcher, Trevor Cahill, who is due a whopping $19.7 million through the next season ($7.7 million for the remainder of this year), was just designated for assignment. This season, Cahill has struggled mightily in both of his roles for Arizona, posting a cumulative 5.66 ERA in 41.1 innings pitched (IP). As a reliever, he has done decently well with a 3.04 ERA in 23.2 IP, but as a starter- the role he is getting paid for and so desperately wants to return to- he has an 0-4 record with a 9.17 ERA.
Although Kevin Towers does not like to “watch” how his deals turn out, Diamondback fans can clearly see who won in the Cahill trade. Cahill was the main-focus of a trade made with the Oakland A’s, a trade that saw one of the D-Backs top pitching prospects, Jarrod Parker, leave in December of 2011. Parker may be out this season with a right elbow surgery, but over the past two seasons with the A’s, the youngster has accumulated a 25-16 record and a 3.68 ERA. Compare that to Cahill’s numbers in that same span of time (21-22, 3.89) and the deal does not seem all that bad. However, couple those statistics with the contracts they each signed (Parker: two-years, $995k; Cahill: five-year, $30.5 million– all guaranteed), it is now extremely clear why “Money-Ball” GM Billy Beane has kept his post in Oakland for as long as he has and why Towers may be left on the outside looking in.
Hindsight may be 20/20, but in playing devil’s advocate, who knows if Parker would have been that extra push for the Snakes in order to overcome two consecutive .500 seasons. Regardless of the Parker trade, the future of Cahill now remains extremely scary. If the Diamondbacks do not trade or release him over the next 10 days and decide to option him to the minors, Cahill can refuse to go, therefore becoming a free-agent and Arizona would still owe him the entire rest of his contract. From reports, it would appear that Cahill is ready to stay with the team in the minor-league. Regardless, this remains a gloomy situation with the end hopes being that the Diamondbacks $12 million-man can return next year to his 2010 All-Star form.
In a sick and twisted game of six-degrees of separation, here is the list of sub-deals all stemming from the Trevor Cahill trade that could end up dooming the Diamondbacks GM, Kevin Towers:
The Diamondbacks sent Jarrod Parker and reliever Ryan Cook and OF Collin Cowgill for Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow. Cook went on to become a 2012 All-Star and posted a 2.31 ERA in 142 appearances for the A’s. Cowgill is now batting .279 in 54 games for the Angels. Breslow, who only had one-year remaining on his contract, was sent to Boston for Matt Albers. Albers, who appeared to be a solid trade considering he was only arbitration eligible, would later be sent to Cleveland as part of the three-team Gregorius/Bauer trade. This season for the Indians, Bauer, the former third-overall pick in the 2011 draft, is 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA. Also since that trade, Albers has a 2.83 ERA in 73 IP for Cleveland and Houston. The Diamondbacks also received Tony Sipp in the Bauer and Albers trade, but after posting a career-high 4.78 ERA out of the pen for Arizona, he opted for free-agency when the D-Backs designated him for assignment. Gregorius has floated up and down from the minors.
In total, the Diamondbacks have only retained Gregorius and Cahill (who are both be set to be in the minors by the time Pennington is off the DL) and in the process let go of- or lost- anAll-Star in Ryan Cook, a top-prospect in Trevor Bauer, an OF in Collin Cowgill, and relievers Craig Breslow and Matt Albers in order to also later lose Tony Sipp. Literally and figuratively speaking, these deals in hindsight do not seem to be paying off very well. In all, the total cost this year for the five players dealt (Bauer, Albers, Breslow, Cowgill and Cook) is $8.921 million- Sipp’s contract details are unknown. The total cost for just Cahill alone is $7.9 million ($8.406 including Gregorius).
After the original Cahill trade, in the end it may have been Craig Breslow who said it best. Breslow stated that “these (were) two different organizations going in two different directions” and then mentioned how excited he was to join a team “competing for a World Series championship.” Unfortunately for Diamondback fans, Breslow and Towers-alike, the organizations roles would sadly be flipped. As the A’s continue to lead the AL-West for the third straight season, the D-Backs and Kevin Towers are still scraping to find answers while in last place.