The Milwaukee Brewers need to round out their bullpen with a Major League option or two before the start of the 2020 season. Should they look to target free agent reliever Trevor Cahill?
If the 2020 Major League Baseball season started today, the Milwaukee Brewers would have to fill their bullpen with names like Ray Black, Bobby Wahl, Deolis Guerra, and Angel Perdomo. They could use a solid veteran or two to help provide a bridge from the starter to closer Josh Hader.
One option that’s still on the market is right-hander Trevor Cahill. Would he provide the kind relief the Brewers will need?
How did Cahill perform in 2019?
Cahill spent with the Los Angeles Angels and posted a 5.98 ERA in 102 1/3 innings of work. He struck out 81, walked 39, and was tagged for 25(!) homers. His 2.20 HR/9 was more than double his 1.01 career average.
2019 was easily the worst season of Cahill’s professional career from a numbers standpoint, but he didn’t suffer a noticeable dip in velocity. He just gave up all the homers in 2019.
Is there any reason for hope?
Cahill is less than two years removed from a 2.0 WAR season with the Oakland A’s. He didn’t suffer an injury or an obvious dip in velocity.
He did give up more fly balls in 2019 than previous seasons. 33.9% of the balls put in play against Cahill were in the air. That’s well above his 27.1% career average.
When Cahill was hit, he was hit hard. 45.0% of contact made against Cahill qualified as ‘hard contact’. He has a 31.3% hard hit rate for his career.
His last year in a full-time relief role was 2016 when he made 50 relief appearances and only one start for the Chicago Cubs. He managed a 2.74 ERA.
Cahill also worked exclusively out of the bullpen in the second half of the 2019 season, and posted a 4.25 ERA for Los Angeles, and posted a 4.96 ERA as a reliever for all of 2019.
Should the Brewers look to add Cahill as a reliever?
2020 will be Cahill’s age 32-season, and it will be his 12th season in the Majors. He’s a capable veteran option coming off a rough season. If the Milwaukee Brewers think he can rediscover himself, he makes a lot of sense for a bullpen in need of a solid veteran.
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The Milwaukee Brewers have stayed out of the relief pitching market almost completely. Adding Cahill on a one-year deal would add a veteran presence to the bullpen, give the team greater depth, and add a previously solid guy on a ‘prove-it’ deal. The Brewers have had success with these types of contracts in the past and they’ll need to have similar success if they want to round out their bullpen.