Dan Szymborski — who I will call “Baseball Think Factory’s Dan Szymborski” even though he’s writing this piece for ESPN Insider — has a good column up today. In it he breaks down playoff performance by players with “playoff experience,” which we are told by so many commentators matters this time of year.
Of course, if Dan had found that playoff experience matters, he probably just would have chucked the column on the basis of no one wanting to read a dog-bites-man story. His conclusion is contrary to that, however:
In summary, while having playoff experience never will actually hurt a player or a team, it’s generally a non-factor relative to the skills of a team or a player. Put the best team on the field and hope they have a better game than your opponent — isn’t that the way it ought to be?
So there goes one more argument for believing that A.J. Burnett will be dominant tonight. Pity.
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.