We've got budget flexibility to be able to afford another starter. I can't say if it's going to be Joe, maybe it'll be someone externally from the outside. We've certainly had ownership support to make this deal, but if it means make another trade, or acquire another starter through free-agency, we have that ability and the wherewithal to do that, if the right deal presents itself.
-- Kevin Towers
New Diamondbacks Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow joined Arizona GM Kevin Towers this evening to discuss the trade with Oakland, and what it means for the team. Here's a transcript of that session with the media.
What are your thoughts about the move and the change?
Trevor Cahill: I was kinda surprised by it. I'd heard a lot of other guys' names being bounced around, and never thought that I'd be the first one to go. I think it should be good. I liked Oakland and was comfortable over there, but it looks like the Diamondbacks want to win, and I really want to compete and try to win a championship.
Craig Breslow: A little bit of surprise. I think Trevor touched upon it, we'd been reading so much about guys like Gio Gonzales and Andrew Bailey probably being the first pieces to move. Obviously, these are two different organizations going in two different directions, and I'm excited to be on the receiving end of this one, and dealt to a team to get a chance at a World Series championship. That's what we're out here to do.
Could you describe your spots and repertoires, and what you're dealing when you're going good?
CB: I'm kind of a "right-handed" left-handed pitcher. In that I don't think I'm terribly 'quirky', throw from a low arm angle, or have a big, sweeping breaking ball. But in my career, I've been pretty successful at getting both left- and right-handed hitters out. So I'm not a typical left-handed pitcher who would come in and just face one hitter - I think my splits through my career have been pretty even. Hopefully a guy who can be counted on to face more than one hitter.
TC: I just throw sinkers, so if I'm down in the zone, and it's sinking that day, then usually I do good, if I'm not struggling with my command, like last year. I think that's why I struggled so much. But with that, and if my change-up is good. My slider is a work in progress, and my curveball was just added the year before last.
Have you guys had any communication with Brad Ziegler about what type of organization you can expect?
CB: Yeah, I talked to Brad earlier this evening, and he was very complimentary of the organization, said it's a great time to join the organization. There's a focus on winning, and he had nothing but positive things to say. I'm definitely excited to experience it first-hand.
How do you feel you'll add to this already talented staff in Arizona?
TC: I think it's a different scenario to Oakland. In Oakland, it seemed like we had different kinds of 'stuff' - my rookie year, I think I was the only right-hander in the rotation. So it'll be different, but I think I'll be able to fit in pretty good. I haven't seen a lot of the Diamondbacks' pitching - we played them last year in interleague, so just that, and in the playoffs.
Trevor, you had a terrific year in 2010. What went well, what did you like about that year?
TC: I added the curveball from the year before, and I felt like I could throw that at any count, and it was a strikeout pitch. Last year, I didn't throw it that much. I think command was a big thing. I felt like I could throw my sinker on the corner when I wanted to, while last year it was more like, if I was lucky, I could throw it down the middle of the plate, and that's when I'd get hit.
And what about the adjustments you'll have to make in the National League. Are the hitters a little bit different? What about having to hit?
TC: I think that's one of the fun parts about it. I hit in high-school and I loved to hit and interleague's always fun, so from that standpoint the whole thing should be fun. Just going to have to start over from scratch, and do the whole video work, talk to other pitcher in the rotation, figure out hitters' tendencies in the National League.
Trevor, about the extension you signed with the A's in April. When signed that, did you think you would be with Oakland for the foreseeable future?
TC: I definitely thought I would be with them for a little bit longer. With their history, they usually keep guys until they hopefully not make too much money, then trade them off and get the prospects. That's kind of the cycle, so I thought I'd be there for a little bit longer. But I'm glad to be part of a team that's trying to win right now, and hopefully there's good things going forward.
Kevin, could you talk about the reasons for the move and what you feel you've got in these two players?
Kevin Towers: In Trevor's situation, we've acquired a player that's logged 400 innings over the last two years. He's nine months older than Jarrod Parker, he's been an All-Star, with 40 wins, a sinker-ball pitcher, which we think plays well at Chase Field. Proven winner, innings eater, young guy that we think is only going to get better. Heavy sinker with a plus-plus change-up. Guy that competes and somebody that we think, after winning the division, makes out ballclub much better. Realizing we had to give up something good, but we feel like we've got a young starter to go along with Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter and Ian Kennedy. Some cost control - he's signed for the next four years, with two options, so hopefully we can keep this rotation together for a long time, with four young starters that we think are as good as anybody in the NL West.
Does this end the Joe Saunders era?
KT: Not necessarily. We still have to make a decision on December 12th, that's the tender date. With Trevor in the fold right now, our rotation's that much better, but it's not to say that we're done doing business. We'd even like to add another starter. With Jarrod out of the picture now - he was penciled in as our fifth starter, so I would have to say, at this point in time, we're still looking to improve the rotation if we can.
Do you feel you have it in the budget to be able to afford starters as well as Trevor?
KT: Yes, we've got budget flexibility to be able to afford another starter. I can't say if it's going to be Joe, maybe it'll be someone externally from the outside. We've certainly had ownership support to make this deal, but if it means make another trade, or acquire another starter through free-agency, we have that ability and the wherewithal to do that, if the right deal presents itself.
Can you talk a little about the position the organization is in right now, to be able to give up a good young pitcher like Parker?
KT: I think a lot of it is just the depth that we have in the system. Certainly, Jarrod was a tough piece to give up, but with Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs and Charlie Brewer, Wade Miley, we feel we've got depth in the starting rotation. We're still, we think, in a good position with our starting pitching. If we didn't feel we had that depth, it would have been a tough deal to make, but we see a window here, specifically in the NL West, where winning the division, and we're in a kind of 'go for it' mode. So to stay on top of the division, and do whatever we can, and I think it shows the ownership support, to go out and make a deal like this. But we still feel like we have a lot of starting pitching depth as well coming along. Patrick Corbin would be another one as well.
What about losing Cowgill - what does that do to the depth in the outfield?
KT: As of right now, if Stephen [Drew] is healthy to start the season, Willie Bloomquist probably becomes our fourth outfielder. If Stephen's not ready, we've still got Adam Eaton, we've got [C.J.] Pollock, we've got some outfield depth. Pollock and Eaton are two guys that we think are knocking at the door of the big-leagues. Not easy to move a good prospect like Cowgill. The two areas where we don't have depth are catching and middle-infield, but we feel with specifically Eaton and Pollock, these are two guys that we think, if we need another outfielder, these guys are close or ready to contribute at the big-league level.
Are you okay going in to the season with Miguel Montero and Henry Blanco, or are you looking to upgrade there?
KT: We were fine last year with those two individuals. Both have lots of experience, but we do lack catching depth in our system. So we're still looking to find a catching prospect for our system if we can; probably more of a minor-league deal, but that's an area where we don't have much behind them. We still have Konrad Schmidt at Reno in Triple-A, but beyond that we're a little bit light. We've actually talked with a few clubs this winter about trying to add another catcher into our system, just to give us more catching depth.
Can you talk about having a guy who has done it at the major-league level, and a guy who hasn't quite done it. What security does that give you?
KT: I think a lot of it has to do with where you're at. Where we were at a year ago, I think we probably don't make this trade. But winning 94 games and being the defending NL West champs, to be able to get a great young man, that's really only nine months older than Jarrod Parker, has been an All-Star, logged 400 innings over the last two years - we think we're in a better position to win now. And that's probably what prompted this decision and this trade.
What about adding a second left-hander to the pen?
KT: We wanted to add another left-hander, and I know Craig Breslow well. I actually signed him out of an independent league with San Diego. He's probably one of those reverse-split guys; if you look at him this year, he has probably been more effective against righties than he has lefties, but last year he was very good against left-handers. He's a work-horse, a guy that'll take the ball and can throw multiple innings. Lot of appearances, he can pitch in the sixth, seventh or eighth and I think he'll be very effective.
Do you expect to have something on Joe before the 12th, or do you think you could tender him and then decide after?
KT: We did get a response back from him. I'd say there's probably a pretty significant gap right now from where they're at and where we're at. We've still got a few days yet before we really have to make a decision. He's still somebody that we covet, as well as some other free-agents. But as I said, we're still looking to add another starter if we can. If it's not Joe Saunders, there are some other free-agents, and there's actually some other trade opportunities that may present themselves. So D-Day's on Monday for what we decide to do with Joe. We'll certainly have to make decision, if we sign him or trade him or not-tender him. We can't say right at this point in time what's going to happen. But I'd say, based on what their position is right now, there's probably a significant gap between both sides.
Do you think you're done, except for another starting pitcher?
KT: No. I think you win with pitching. I think from a positional player standpoint, we're probably finished, with the signing of Lyle Overbay. But probably still looking to beef up the bullpen, and possibly even that other starter. So we've still got business to do. We're not done yet.
[Thanks to Seth Pollack for the audio]