After three straight solid starts in a row, Trevor Cahill was just torched for a career-high 10 runs in two-plus innings by the Yankees on Friday night. He gave up five runs in a second inning that only ended because Derek Jeter was thrown out at third after tagging up on a sac fly and then five more without getting an out in the third.
Cahill opened the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA. He outpitched his peripherals as part of a surprising 18-win season in 2010, but this time around, his strikeout rate was well up and he surrendered just three homers in his first eight starts. His K/BB ratio stood at 45/16 in 52 1/3 innings.
Things have gone very wrong since. In his last 14 starts, he has a 56/42 K/BB ratio and he’s allowed 10 homers in 83 2/3 innings.
Velocity is one problem. He averaged 90.4 mph with his fastball last year, and he was right around there at the beginning of this season. However, he’s averaged closer to 86-89 mph lately and he’s down to 89.1 mph for the season, according to Fangraphs.com data.
Also a concern is the regression of his curveball. Based on a couple of early-season viewings, I thought it was turning into the strikeout pitch he needed and I got quite a bit more bullish on his future as a result. Unfortunately, he’s no longer throwing it for strikes or getting swings and misses with it.
It’s possible Cahill is hurting and just hasn’t told anyone about it. The erosion of both his command and velocity suggests it. But hopefully that’s not the case. As stated above, Cahill had turned in three straight quality starts coming into this one. Still, he’s an A’s pitcher and it’s never a good idea to give one of them the benefit of the doubt.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.