Arizona Diamondbacks Improve Starting Rotation, Trade For Trevor Cahill

Through some solid trades, the Arizona Diamondbacks have slowly but surely built up their starting rotation. In 2009, the Diamondbacks traded for Ian Kennedy, who finished fourth in the National League Cy Young award voting in 2011. At the 2010 trade deadline, they acquired Daniel Hudson from the Chicago White Sox and all he did this year was go 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA.

Now, the Diamondbacks have made another trade for a starting pitcher that should only help improve their rotation.

The Diamondbacks acquired RHP Trevor Cahill and left-handed reliever Craig Breslow from the Oakland A's for RHP Jarrod Parker, OF Collin Cowgill, and RHP Ryan Cook. We'll cover the A's part of this trade in another post, but I dig this trade for the Diamondbacks.

In Cahill, the DBacks get a 24-year-old pitcher, who could be under team control for the next seven seasons. And oh yeah, he's pretty good.

Cahill has a career 3.91 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and a 53.3 Ground Ball Percentage in 583 innings. He has pitched over 175 innings in each of his first three Major League seasons and in 2010, Cahill finished in the top-10 in AL Cy Young voting. What I like about Cahill is that even though it seemed he had a down season because of his record, is peripherals improved from 2010 to 2011.

Cahill saw his K/9 improve from 5.4 in 2010 to 6.4 in 2011 in large part to a couple of factors.His O-Contact Percentage (per Fangraphs) improved from 70 percent in 2010 to 65 percent in 2011. That just tells me his stuff is getting better and he is getting hitters to swing at his pitches.

He also has improved his first-pitch strike percentage throughout his career as well (57 percent in 2011). As long as Cahill continues to throw first-pitch strikes and gets hitters to keep swinging and missing at his pitches out of the zone, he will be solid with the Diamondbacks.

I would say the one thing holding Cahill back from being a No. 1 starter is the fact that he walks way to many batters. Cahill has walked 3.3 batters per nine. The best pitchers average around 1.3 walks per nine.

Cahill gives the Diamondbacks three solid starters at the top of their rotation. They should once again be a force in the NL West.

The Diamondbacks also acquired Breslow, who is a left-handed reliever that really struggled against lefties last season. Left-handed batters had a .866 OPS against Breslow in 2011. He'll have to improve against lefties in order to have any significant value to the DBacks.

At the end of the day, good trade by the Diamondbacks to improve their starting rotation and add another arm to the pen.

You can follow Adam on Twitter @ baseballindex

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