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"It's really about rounding out and giving [manager] Andy [Green] some options in the rotation, some starting pitching depth," Preller said. "… For the most part, I think the focus here in the next couple weeks is still going to be adding some more starting pitching options."
Tyson Ross, last season's Opening Day starter, will not be one of those options. The right-hander -- who is coming off thoracic outlet syndrome surgery -- has agreed to a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers, sources told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Ross, who posted a 3.16 ERA in four seasons in San Diego, was non-tendered by the Padres last month.
"Wish him nothing but the best," Preller said. "He's a first-class person, obviously a really talented pitcher when he's healthy. But he's an even better person. It was a very tough call on our standpoint, in terms of non-tendering. That decision, and watching him in another uniform -- that part's not easy. But ... from our standpoint we wish him nothing but the best in Texas and hope he goes out and does everything he can to have a big year for them."
Cahill pitched in 50 games for the Cubs last season, all but one in relief, posting a 2.74 ERA and striking out 66 batters in 65 2/3 innings, although he did not pitch in Chicago's postseason run to the World Series championship. He did, however, make six relief appearances in the 2015 playoffs.
The 28-year-old, who spent his first six Major League seasons as a starter before transitioning to the bullpen two years ago, is expected to compete for a spot in San Diego's rotation, with the bullpen a fallback option, according to the report.
Cahill is a Southern California native who attended Vista High School, which is less than an hour north of San Diego. Over his eight years in the big leagues, the former All-Star has gone 63-70 with a 4.14 ERA in 174 starts, while he has a 3.24 ERA in his 88 career relief appearances.
Cahill's addition would give the Padres nine starters competing for five spots during Spring Training, with few -- if any -- jobs already cemented. Even with Cahill's signing, the club remains open to bringing back free agent Jake Peavy, one of the franchise's all-time greatest starting pitchers.