The rebuilding Padres are wheeling and dealing and yes we’ve written that before.
It’s midsummer, when the parking along the coast is tight and Padres are peddled before barely getting to know them.
Then there is Trevor Cahill, the right-hander from right around here who resurrected his career.
Cahill, an Oceanside native, was the Padres’ best starter, make that ex-Padre, and it was fun while it lasted. He nearly made it from February-to-August in a Padres uniform. Despite the brief stay, it’s cool he came home and suited up for the local nine.
Trouble was Cahill was too good for what the Padres are doing. This is a year of player development and crossed fingers for the future. Winning takes a backseat to building for better days and yeah, we hope it all works out for the Padres’ brainiacs, too.
Among the team’s big thinkers is A.J. Preller, the general manager from Encinitas. He figured discarding Cahill, along with Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter to the Kansas City Royals would help down the road.
So Cahill points his GPS toward the Midwest, grateful he hung around the team he grew up cheering.
“I had a great time here,” said Cahill, a Vista High product.
He leaves with his career on an upswing, which was all part of the grand plan when he signed with sunny San Diego. Cahill wanted to prove again that he could shine as a starter.
But it was how the stars lined up that made Cahill come home. Knowing he would get a chance to throw the first pitch, and not work from the bullpen, was enticing to Cahill. So was the possibility that if he excelled he could get plopped into an exciting pennant race.
Kansas City, here he comes, and the Royals’ chances for an American League playoff spot just improved.
That payoff is what Cahill had in mind.
“Coming here I knew the team being where it is right now, that there was a chance some pieces would maybe get traded away,’’ said Cahill, who went 4-3 record and 3.69 ERA. “Just look at it as another team that’s in the playoff hunt.”
He leaves behind Andy Green, the Padres manager, hunting for wins but understanding the long-term views of the front office. But Green stressed Cahill left a positive mark.
“With Trevor it goes all the way back to Arizona,’’ Green said of their time together with the Diamondbacks. “And I’ve just seen the growth in him. You like watching people grow up and succeed.”
That success comes from Cahill swapping his bread-and-butter for something with bite. Known for his fastball, he went to more sliders. That led to swings-and-misses, ground balls and a one-way ticket to K.C.
“It’s not easy to make deals,” Preller said. “We traded three guys we know are going to help Kansas City in the short and medium term.’’
So Cahill exits a team rolling toward its seventh straight season of below .500 baseball. It’s all about what’s to come and that’s doesn’t include Cahill.
“I think it’s consistent with the plan we have been talking about,” Preller said. “Which is to continue to build the organization with a lot of quality depth as far as players that are going to help us in the future.”
Green mentioned Cahill when talking about a postseason, which for the 11th consecutive year won’t include the Padres.
“It gives me a team to pull for in the AL,’’ Green said. “If you are allowed to do that in my position.”
Cahill put himself in a position to pitch meaningful second-half games. Even if he had to leave home to do it.
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Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports