When I wrote about the Trevor Cahill trade on Monday night, I didn’t spend too much time on the players the Padres gave up, including The Great Cahill. I did figure, however, that the thinking on their relative value was somewhat of a forgone conclusion. Turns out, reasonable people disagree with me. In the spirit of scraping for things to write about, and discussing the overarching topic of trade value heading into the deadline, I figured I’d collect some thoughts on the issue here.

So—drumroll please—here’s my ranking, in terms of perceived trade value, of the three players the Padres sent to Kansas City.

1. Trevor Cahill

When teams are looking to acquire someone at the trade deadline, they’re often looking for some type of impact player. Cahill is maybe not an impact player, but he’s the closest thing to one out of the three players San Diego gave away. I totally get that he’s a 29-year-old vet with a mostly uninspiring track record. Over the last four or five years, he’s seemingly had more injuries than innings pitched, and prior to this year he had been almost exclusively a reliever since 2014.

Here’s the thing, though: He’s pitching like an impact player. By Baseball Prospectus’s catch-all pitching metric, DRA, Cahill’s 2.64 mark is eighth in all of baseball among starters with 10 innings or more. Eighth. By cFIP, BP’s other ERA estimator, he falls all the way down to ninth overall. If you like plain old strikeout percentage, Cahill’s 27.4 percent ranks 23rd out of 224 starters who’ve reached the 10-inning threshold, in between pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Zack Greinke, and Lance McCullers. There are random 60-inning samples where a pitcher gets lucky on balls in play, or whatever, and posts an undeserving 2-something ERA. Then there are random 60-inning samples where a pitcher kicks ass. This is the latter.

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Earlier today the Padres traded Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter to the Kansas City Royals for Esteury Ruiz, Matt Strahm, and Travis Wood.

Woo-hoo, a trade!

Trades are hard to write about these days. The more credit we’ve given to teams for getting smarter and smarter, the easier it is to look at a deal and nod along: “yup, yup, makes sense. yup.” It’s really no different with this deal. The Padres had obvious trade candidates like Cahill, picked up for pennies and reconfigured into a legitimate starter, Maurer, a still-pretty-young reliever who’s consistently shown better peripherals and stuff than surface stats, and Buchter, something of a throw-in who offers some value as an always coveted lefty with good strikeout numbers, so they traded them. In return the Padres got back a pair of younger, interesting players and in the process made the major-league team worse for an anticipated, and choreographed, second-half swoon.

The Padres got back three players. One of them, Travis Wood, is unlike the others. He’s a 30-year-old veteran having an absolutely miserable year. So far in 41 2/3 innings out of the Royals ‘pen, Wood’s posted a gaudy 8.49 DRA, seventh-worst in all of baseball (min. 20 innings.). In fact, among pitchers with at least half their innings in relief, Wood is dead last in the majors. His cFIP, 112, offers some hope for non-disastrous performance going forward, but he’s fallen a long way since masquerading as a league-average starter a few years back with the Cubs.

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Sometimes things can get a little fuzzy after an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (42-54) scored more runs than the San Francisco Giants (37-61) last night at AT&T Park, 12-9 in 11 innings.

Trevor Cahill (4-3, 3.69) allowed six runs (five earned) in three and two-thirds innings on seven hits and four walks with a strikeout. Denard Span scored on a Brandon Belt single, Brandon Crawford‘s bases-loaded single scored Belt and Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence drove in Crawford in the first inning. Belt scored again in the third inning on a single by Pence. Cahill threw a wild pitch to Posey in the fourth inning that scored Gorkys Hernandez. In the ninth inning, Brandon Maurer gave up a single to Crawford that drove in Posey and a two-run home run to Conor Gillaspie to tie the game at nine.

Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05) gave up five runs on eight hits and a walk in four and a third innings with three strikeouts. Cahill ground out and Franchy Cordero scored in the third inning. Hector Sanchez hit a lead-off home run in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, Matt Szczur scored on a Jose Pirela single, Sanchez doubled to drive in Carlos Asuaje, and Wil Myers scored on Cory Spangenberg‘s ground out. Asuaje singled in the sixth inning to drive in Craig Stammen. Myers hit a lead-off home run in the seventh inning. Pirela tripled to drive in Szczur and Pirela scored on an Asuaje single in the eighth inning. Hunter Renfroe scored scored on a Szczur single, a Pirela single drove in Erick Aybar, and Szczur scored the go-ahead run on Asuaje’s single in the eleventh inning.

Luis Perdomo (4-5, 4.94) starts this afternoon’s third game against Matt Moore (3-10, 5.81) beginning at 1:05pm PDT.
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Sometimes things can get a little fuzzy after a Sunday afternoon at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (40-51) scored more runs than the San Francisco Giants (35-58), 7-1, yesterday in the finale of three games at Petco Park.

Trevor Cahill (4-3, 3.14) gave up one run on eight hits and a walk in six and two-thirds innings with eight strikeouts. Buster Posey scored on a double by Brandon Crawford in the second inning.

Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 4.86) allowed seven runs in six innings on nine hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. Hector Sanchez followed up his two-run walk-off home run on Saturday night with a three-run home run and Erick Aybar drove in Cory Spangenberg with a double in the first inning. Spangenberg hit his own three-run home run in the third inning.

The Padres head to Denver to face the Colorado Rockies (53-41) for three games starting tonight at 5:40pm PDT. Luis Perdomo (4-4, 4.54) starts tonight against German Marquez (6-4, 4.36).
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Sometimes things can get a little fuzzy after a Sunday afternoon at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (38-50) scored fewer runs than the Philadelphia Phillies (29-58) yesterday, 7-1, in the three-game series finale at Citizens Bank Park.

Trevor Cahill (3-3, 3.38) allowed four runs on six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in five innings. All seven Phillies’ runs came on six home runs. Nick Williams and Cameron Rupp each hit a solo home run in the second inning. Freddy Galvis hit a two-run home run in the third inning. Odubel Herrera hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. Aaron Altherr and Galvis hit back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh inning.

Jerad Eickhoff (1-7, 4.63) shutout the Padres out over five innings on five hits and a walk while striking out eight. Erick Aybar scored the Padres only run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Hector Sanchez.

The Padres start a three-game series after the All-Star break against the San Francisco Giants (34-56) on Friday night at 7:10pm PDT at Petco Park.
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Sometimes things can get a little fuzzy after an Independence Day at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (35-48) scored more runs than the Cleveland Indians (44-38) last night at Progressive Field, 1-0, in the first of three games.

Trevor Cahill (3-2, 2.96) returned from the disabled list and shutout the Indians for four and a third innings on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Jose Torres, Kirby Yates, Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand, and Brandon Maurer combined to allow just one hit and one walk over the last four and two-thirds innings of the shutout.

Corey Kluber (7-3, 2.85) gave up one run on five hits and a walk with ten strikeouts over eight innings. Cory Spangenberg beat out a double play attempt, driving in Hector Sanchez in the fifth inning. Wil Myers struck out four times in four at-bats and Hunter Renfroe struck out three times in four at-bats.

Luis Perdomo (3-4, 4.71) starts this evening’s second game against Trevor Bauer (7-6, 5.24) beginning at 4:10pm PDT.
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I didn’t catch Trevor Cahill‘s start on Saturday night because I was in Boston watching another ace named Chris Sale. I came away from that experience convinced that the key to solving baseball’s pace-of-play problem is to clone about 50 or so Sales, although that would immediately prompt a new run-scoring problem (and, perhaps, cross some ethical boundaries). Back to the subject at hand . . .

Cahill didn’t have his best start against the White Sox, but he still managed seven strikeouts and a lone walk on the road in a hitter-friendly ballpark in the league with the DH. When even your bad starts look pretty darned good, you know you’re getting somewhere. We’re a month and a half into the season—or 41 1/3 innings in Cahill Time—so I figured it’d be a good time to check in on where Cahill stands in the majors in a variety of pitching categories (among starting pitchers). Let’s get right to it.

DRA

13. Lance McCullers, 2.02
14. Trevor Cahill, 2.07
15. Madison Bumgarner, 2.11

Brief stat description: Deserved Run Average, from Baseball Prospectus, is probably the best catch-all pitching stat going these days, a tremendously ambitious attempt to isolate pitcher performance as best as humanely possible.

Distance to leader: 1.01. Whoops, here’s that Sale guy again. He currently has a 1.06 DRA, which is 50 points better than Craig Kimbrel‘s best full season. I know it’s not fair to put anyone on Clayton Kershaw‘s level, but Sale is pushing the envelope. He is, quite simply, shredding it in a Red Sox uniform.

As for Cahill, this number, by itself, goes a long way toward validating just how good he’s been so far this year. You don’t put up the 14th-best DRA in the majors with smoke and mirrors.

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Sometimes things can get a little fuzzy after an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (14-24) scored fewer runs than the Chicago White Sox (16-17) last night at Guaranteed Rate Field, losing 5-4 in a walk off.

Trevor Cahill (3-2. 3.27) gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Avisail Garcia hit a solo home run in the second inning. In the fourth inning, Jose Abreu reached on a throwing error by Ryan Schimpf, took second base on a wild pitch, took third base on another wild pitch, and then Cahill walked Garcia on yet another wild pitch, allowing Abreu to score. Kevan Smith scored on Leury Garcia‘s ground out and Melky Cabrera‘s RBI single drove in Tyler Saladino in the fifth inning. In the ninth inning, Saladino scored on Yolmer Sanchez‘ single to win the game.

Dylan Covey (0-3, 7.98) pitched four and a third innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out nine. For the second game in a row, the Padres had a home run to leadoff the game on the first pitch, this time by Manuel Margot. Allen Cordoba hit a solo home run in the third inning. In the fifth inning, Hunter Renfroe scored on Wil Myers‘ sacrifice fly.  And Myers hit a solo home run in the eighth inning.

Today’s rubber game pits Jered Weaver (0-4, 6.81) against Jose Quintana (2-5, 4.46) starting at 11:10pm PDT.

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Sometimes things can get a little fuzzy after an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (13-20) scored more runs than the Texas Rangers (13-20) in the first of two games at Petco Park last night, 5-1.

Trevor Cahill (3-2, 3.06) gave up just one hit in five and a third shutout innings with five walks and seven strikeouts. Shin-Soo Choo hit a solo home run off Brad Hand in the seventh inning for the Rangers’ lone run.

Nick Martinez (0-2, 5.18) surrendered four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out four in six innings. Austin Hedges‘ RBI single in the second inning put the Padres on the board and Hedges later scored on Manuel Margot‘s single. Ryan Schimpf hit a solo home run in the third inning. Hedges hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. Cory Spangenberg hit a solo home run in the seventh inning.

This afternoon Jered Weaver (0-3, 5.51) takes the mound against A.J. Griffin (3-0, 3.54) starting at 12:40pm PDT.

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When Trevor Cahill broke into the big leagues back in 2009 with Oakland, he had one major problem. He couldn’t strike anybody out. Cahill struck out just 90 batters in 178 2/3 innings that year, and his inability to induce whiffs followed him through most of his career, from Oakland to Arizona to Atlanta. By the time he was 25, Cahill had pigeonholed himself into a backend starter role, good for sometimes ordinary outings but not much more.

Then last year with the Cubs, as a reliever, a flicker of hope; Cahill finally unlocked the door to the strikeout. He fanned a batter an inning while posting otherwise unspectacular numbers. It was enough, at least, to add some intrigue to what had become a stale act.

The Padres bit, signing Cahill to a cheap one-year deal this offseason with the promise at a crack to break their starting rotation. “If you can’t make our rotation, you probably can’t make any rotation” might have been the sales pitch. Cahill bought it.

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