As the Oakland Athletics have become more and more of a "small-market" team, part of their business model has been to sign their young burgeoning stars to multi-year contract extensions that carry them through their arbitration years. The general contract system in baseball allows the team to basically pay a player whatever they want (at or above the league minimum) for their first three years. The lone exception on that third year is the Super Two player. Then, a player has three years (or four years for Super Two players) of arbitration in which the two sides submit proposals and salaries escalate at a much higher rate.
The A's business model has been to ink players to extensions that carry them through their entire arbitration period. They end up paying a premium for the league minimum years, but they can save significantly on the back-end if the player does in fact blow up as the team hopes. The A's have primarily signed their pitchers to these kinds of deals and it has paid off during that time with the likes of Tim Hudson and hopefully Brett Anderson being such examples.
Trevor Cahill is now apparently close to joining that group. Earlier today ESPN.com and Baseball America writer Jerry Crasnick tweeted that Cahill and the A's have reached agreement on a multi-year extension, pending a physical. A's beat writer Susan Slusser tweeted that Cahill wasn't aware a deal was done and he said the two sides had been working on the deal since the middle of last year.
Cahill blew up last season to the tune of an 18-8 record and emerged as the A's ace in 2010. While I remain convinced Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez is the most talented pitcher on the roster, Cahill is the first to put things together for a complete season. His 2011 started off a bit shaky with a high pitch count knocking him out of the season opener early, but he bounced back strong against the Toronto Blue Jays, lasting eight innings and striking out seven in a 2-1 A's victory.
Head on over to Athletics Nation where folks are discussing the potential deal in today's A's-Twins game thread.