Trevor Cahill agrees to long-term contract extension with A’s

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Trevor Cahill and the A’s were said to be on the verge of a long-term contract extension last week and today the two sides made everything official, announcing a deal that’s essentially identical to the extension Clay Buchholz just signed with the Red Sox.

Cahill, like Buchholz, would have been arbitration eligible for the first time next season and could have become a free agent following 2014.

Cahill’s contract is technically being phrased as a five-year, $30.5 million deal with team options for 2016 and 2017, but because his in-progress 2011 is being included in that accounting the new upfront money is really $30.1 million for four years.

Cahill gets $30.1 million for 2012-2015, with the A’s holding a $13 million option or $300,000 buyout for 2016 and a $13.5 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2017.

Buchholz got $30.5 million for 2012-2015, with the Red Sox holding a $13 million option or $250,000 buyout for 2016 and a $13.5 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2017.

And it makes sense that their extensions would be nearly identical. Cahill is a couple years younger than Buchholz, but they have identical service time and extremely similar career numbers. Cahill has a 3.69 ERA in 388 innings. Buchholz has a 3.77 ERA in 374 innings.

Good deals for both teams, as the risk is relatively minimal compared to the potential reward of controlling each pitcher’s first three seasons of free agency at what will no doubt be below-market prices by 2015.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.