Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said prior to this week's Major League Baseball winter meetings that the Diamondbacks had no untouchables, and he's a man of his word.
On Friday, the Diamondbacks traded a prized arm in their minor league system, right-hander Jarrod Parker, to the Oakland Athletics as part of a package that fills two areas of concern. Trevor Cahill, an American League All-Star in 2010 at age 22, gives them a quality, experienced but young arm to plug into the front end of their rotation, and Craig Breslow adds a second left-handed option to the bullpen.
The Diamondbacks also got cash considerations from Oakland in exchange for Parker, relief pitcher Ryan Cook and outfielder Collin Cowgill.
We feel very fortunate to add a young, talented started like Trevor to our rotation and an extremely durable and successful reliever like Craig to our bullpen, Towers said in a release issued by the team. Its never easy to part with a prospect, but we feel like the surplus of talent that our scouting and player development staff has generated puts us in a position to build on what we accomplished this season and truly improve our team in 2012 and beyond.
Cahill, 23, went 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA over 34 starts in 2011. He struck out 147 and walked 82 in 207.2 innings.
Over parts of three seasons for the Athletics, Cahill is 40-35 with a 3.91 ERA. In his All-Star season of 2010, he went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA.
Among pitchers 25 and younger since 2009, Cahill ranks fifth with 40 wins behind Felix Hernandez (46), Yovanni Gallardo (44), Clayton Kershaw (42) and David Price (41). He was originally a second-round draft choice of the A's in 2006.
Breslow, 31, has a 3.06 career ERA in 295 games. He has 219 appearances over the past three seasons, fourth among all major league pitchers.
Parker, 22, rebounded from Tommy John surgery in the winter of 2009 to make his major league debut in September, pitching 5.2 scoreless innings in his only appearance. In three minor league seasons, Parker has gone 28-19 with a 3.49 ERA in 70 starts.
The Diamondbacks likely believed they could afford to move Parker because of a wealth of talented arms in their minor league system. Tyler Skaggs had surpassed Parker as their top prospect in the eyes of most scouts. They used two early first-round draft picks in 2011 on starting pitchers Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Bauer is regarded as being close to major league ready.
The acquisition of Cahill likely means that Joe Saunders days in Arizona are over. The D-backs are expected to allow him to become a free agent rather than offer him salary arbitration. Cahill joins Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter in Arizona's starting rotation, with one spot to be determined.
Cowgill, 25, hit .239 for the Diamondbacks in 36 games in 2011, and Cook made 12 relief appearances, posting a 7.04 ERA.
Earlier in the day, the D-backs announced that they had agreed to terms with veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay on a one-year contract. Overbay is expected to serve as a backup to Paul Goldschmidt and a left-handed bat off the bench.