Sidelined since mid-March with a strained pectoral muscle, Frank Francisco has been activated from the disabled list and figures to take over as the Blue Jays’ closer fairly soon.
Much like he did stepping for Joe Nathan with the Twins last season Jon Rauch has done a solid job in place of Francisco, converting all three of his save chances while posting a 2.70 ERA and 5/2 K/BB ratio in 6.2 innings.
Rauch may hang onto the job until Francisco puts together a good outing or two in a lower-leverage role, but Toronto acquired Francisco to be the closer after he lost that job to Neftali Feliz in Texas last season.
To make room on the 25-man roster for Francisco’s return the Blue Jays optioned Jesse Litsch to Triple-A, which also paves the way for Brandon Morrow to come off the DL and take his spot in the rotation back from Litsch on Friday.
Free agent right-hander Trevor Cahill reportedly has a one-year deal in place with the Athletics, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. The exact terms have yet to be disclosed, and as the agreement is still pending a physical, it has not been formally announced by the club.
Cahill, 30, is coming off of a decent, albeit underwhelming year with the Padres and Royals. He kicked off the 2017 season with a 4-3 record in 11 starts for the Padres, then split his time between the rotation and bullpen after a midseason trade to the Royals. By the end of the year, the righty led the league with 16 wild pitches and had racked up a 4.93 ERA, 4.8 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 in 84 innings for the two teams.
The A’s found themselves in desperate need of rotation depth this week after Jharel Cotton announced he’d miss the 2018 season to undergo Tommy John surgery. Right now, the team is considering some combination of Andrew Triggs, Daniel Gossett, Daniel Mengden and Paul Blackburn for the back end of the rotation — a mix that seems unlikely to change in the last two weeks before Opening Day, as Lee points out that Cahill won’t be ready to shoulder a full workload by then. Instead, he’s expected to begin the year in the bullpen and work his way up to a starting role, where the A’s hope he’ll replicate the All-Star numbers he produced with them back in 2010.