With a couple weeks left in Spring Training, Manager Fredi Gonzalez publicly stated that Wandy Rodriguez was to be his 4th Starter on Opening Day. Things didn’t quite shake out as planned. The organization decided that they did not want two left-handed pitchers at the bottom end of their rotation, so they chose to ride with Eric Stults, release Wandy Rodriguez, and traded for Trevor Cahill. The move was questionable when it was made. Rodriguez had pitched well all Spring, but the team had concerns regarding his durability and whether he would be able to stay healthy all season. Cahill was coming off the worst season of his big league career. In 2014, he had a 3-12 record, finished with a 5.61 ERA, and split time between their rotation and their bullpen. Many Braves fans were optimistic that between having a decent Spring Training and a great pitching coach in Roger McDowell, they could perhaps rejuvenate the 2010 All-Star’s career. To me, on the surface the Cahill acquisition was purely an investment. The Diamondbacks ate over half his salary, leaving the Braves on the hook to pay him $5.5 million for this season. Cahill is still just 27 and his deal has team options for the next two seasons, so a rebound year could have rewarded the Braves with a decent return for the sinkerballer.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the chances of any return for Cahill are slim, and it looks like the Diamondbacks committed highway robbery getting rid of him. This move has no long-term financial implications, but was a bad move nonetheless. Cahill has been horrid for Atlanta, owning a 9.19 ERA in 6 appearances. It’s a small sample size, but I’ve already seen enough. This is a guy who is supposed to be a ground ball pitcher due to his sinker, but hitters are teeing off on him like its batting practice. Opponents are hitting .353 off Cahill, and he’s given up 16 earned runs over 15.2 innings pitched. He has more walks (8) than strikeouts (5), and only lasted three starts until being moved to the bullpen. Having this guy on the roster is not only a liability but a waste of a roster spot.
It’s time for the Braves to cut their losses. Sure it’s still only May. I’ve seen enough. Mike Foltynewicz has taken Cahill’s rotation spot and has impressed, and there’s really no reason to keep Cahill around. The experiment has failed, and the Braves need to eat the money. Unfortunately for the team, they took Carlos Quentin’s contract from the Padres in the Kimbrel deal, and are still on the books for Dan Uggla. But like Uggla, the Braves are simply wasting their time and a roster spot with Cahill on the roster. It’s a financial dilemma for the Braves, and though Folty has looked sharp, it is a tad bit annoying to see that Wandy Rodriguez is pitching well for the Rangers. It’s a fluid situation, but let’s hope it’s one that will not drag on for too long. With the Braves owning the 3rd worst bullpen ERA in the MLB, there is little room for error.