(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's free agents to determine which players are most likely to return in 2019.)
Trevor Cahill was two completely different pitchers in 2018. There was Home Trevor Cahill and Road Trevor Cahill.
Home Trevor Cahill was spectacular, going 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 11 starts. Road Trevor Cahill was among the worst in the league, with a 2-3 record, a 6.41 ERA, and 1.58 WHIP.
Overall, Cahill was 7-4 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, solid numbers for a 30-year-old veteran. But after a strong start, the right-hander struggled to a 4.55 ERA the final three months after returning from a strained right Achilles.
Cahill earned $1.5 million for the season.
Why the A's should re-sign him
At 30 years old, Cahill should be in his prime for another few years, if he can stay healthy. He had some impressive stretches this past season, particularly at the Coliseum, where he was downright dominant in a few outings.
Cahill doesn't figure to draw significant interest around the league and should once again be affordable if the A's choose to re-sign him. He could provide depth in the starting rotation, especially early in the season while youngsters A.J. Puk and Jharel Cotton recover from last year's Tommy John surgeries.
Why the A's should let him go
Based on the last few seasons, Cahill is probably a number-five starter at best. He also dealt with elbow and back injuries this season, as well as the strained Achilles. Oakland might choose to move on from the veteran right-hander and turn to younger options like Frankie Montas, Daniel Mengden or top prospect Jesús Luzardo.
This is a tough call. You could make a strong case either way, but we'll lean toward Cahill not returning next season. Between his road struggles, injuries, and recent history, the A's probably have better options in the starting rotation. That said, you can never have too much pitching depth, and if Cahill is open to another one-year deal in the range of $1.5 million, he could wind up back in Oakland after all. Stay tuned.