After watching him struggle through his first four starts, it had become apparent that the time had come for Arizona Diamondbacks to move Trevor Cahill out of the starting rotation. A decision was made to move him to the bullpen, replacing him in the rotation with Mike Bolsinger. Cahill has only made two appearances since the move, but has pitched well enough that the team has no plans to move him back into the rotation, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.
Cahill had always been expected to begin the season as a piece of the D’backs rotation, but few thought of him as one of the leaders to this staff. Unexpected and untimely injuries that will cost Patrick Corbin the whole season and slowed free agent signee Bronson Arroyo from the start thrust Cahill into one of those leading roles, at least when the team began their season with a two game series in Australia against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Through those first four starts – all against either the Dodgers or San Francisco Giants – Cahill was 0-4 with a 9.17 ERA, 17 K, and 13 BB in 17.2 IP. Opponents had hit a robust .347/.448/.528 against him. Arizona needed to make a move.
Since bumping him to the bullpen, Cahill has seen a turnaround in his results. He’s thrown just four innings out of the bullpen, three coming in his latest outing. He’s struck out five, walked none, and has yet to allow a hit in relief. Manager Kirk Gibson was clearly confident in telling Gilbert that the team won’t be moving Cahill back to the rotation:
He’s going to stay in the bullpen. Just throwing the ball with much more confidence right now.
Cahill had combined to make 57 starts for the D’backs over the past two seasons, going 21-22 in that span with a 3.87 ERA and 1.344 WHIP. He’d become a reliable piece in the middle of the team’s rotation, but had never lived up to the top of the rotation option that the team thought they were acquiring when they traded for him from the Oakland A’s following the 2011 season. Arizona signed him to a contract extension shortly thereafter which will pay him $7.7 Million this season and $12 Million next before a pair of team options. It’s hard to envision the D’backs seeing this turn of events when they originally signed him to what appeared to be a very team-friendly deal at the time.
Bolsinger has also struggled since joining the team’s active roster. He’s made an appearance out of the bullpen after initially joining the team and then made his first start this past Saturday against the Dodgers. In total he’s allowed 9 R on 13 H, 3 BB, and 8 K while throwing a total 7.0 IP. His next start will come Thursday at the Chicago Cubs.
Arizona has been forced to make some quick decisions around their pitching staff this season. They’ve already used 15 arms on the year, including 8 different starters. Ryan Rowland-Smith, who made the team’s roster heading to Australia, has already been outrighted off the roster to make room for reinforcements (he’d elect free agency instead). Those numbers don’t even yet include Archie Bradley, the team’s top prospect, who’ll likely take his place in the rotation before much longer given all the struggles the team has been forced to overcome.