The A's got their man after all.
Six days after trade talks between Oakland and Detroit reportedly fell through, the Athletics acquired starting pitcher Mike Fiers from the Tigers in exchange for two players to be named later or cash considerations. Detroit had placed Fiers on waivers, and the A's claimed him and worked out a deal. The 33-year-old right-hander should significantly improve the A's rotation, and allow Frankie Montas and Daniel Mengden to remain in Triple-A Nashville, at least for the time being.
While Edwin Jackson and Trevor Cahill have been pleasant surprises, Fiers immediately becomes the A's second best starting pitcher, behind Sean Manaea. In 21 starts with Detroit this season, Fiers went 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He has been especially effective recently, posting a 1.96 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in his last seven starts.
Now it's not like the A's starting rotation has been bad. In fact, during the team's current six-game winning streak, Oakland's starters have been brilliant, allowing just three earned runs in 37 innings, for an ERA of 0.73. But during that stretch, the A's have used just a four-man rotation, with the help of off days. Fiers provides much-needed depth, taking a major load off the rest of the rotation, not to mention the bullpen.
Fiers should be able to pitch deep into games, which would help manager Bob Melvin get his tremendous bullpen some rest down the stretch. The A's pen has pitched the third most innings in the American League to this point. Blake Treinen, Lou Trivino, and Yusmeiro Petit are all in the top 10 for most innings pitched among relievers. Melvin would love to get some more innings out of his starting rotation.
The acquisition of Fiers also provides another veteran presence in the clubhouse. He spent the last three seasons with the Astros, winning a World Series title last year, so he knows what it takes to go the distance.
Fiers is earning $6 million this season, and is eligible for arbitration next year. That means the A's owe him a little less than $2 million for the rest of the season, and they could keep him around another year if he pitches well.
To make room for Fiers on the 40-man roster, Oakland designated relief pitcher Jeremy Bleich for assignment. They still have to make two moves to get Fiers and newly-acquired reliever Shawn Kelley on the active roster. Likely candidates to be sent down to Nashville include relievers J.B. Wendelken and Ryan Dull.
Fiers' last start with Detroit came last Wednesday, so he should be able to slide into the A's rotation whenever they need him. Oakland opens a two-game series with the Dodgers Tuesday night at the Coliseum.