Oakland Athletics Acquire Pitcher Mike Fiers, Playoff Hopes Grow

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Fiers
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mike Fiers /

The Oakland Athletics have added to their playoff push, acquiring Mike Fiers from the Detroit Tigers.

The Oakland Athletics were rumored to be in trade talks for Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers but weren’t able to make it happen by the trade deadline last week. Today, the team has announced that they have acquired Fiers from the Tigers for two players to be named or cash considerations.

Mark Polishik reports that it is likely safe to assume that none of the A’s top minor league prospects are on the block, but that the Tigers, who sit well out of playoff contention, will still make out well in the deal.

The A’s have to this point managed to cobble together a starting five of which a remarkable four were not expected to be in the rotation when the season opened. The A’s have used a tied-for league-high twelve starters already this year, adding a thirteenth with Fiers first upcoming start.

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The current five in the starting rotation before the Fiers acquisition are comprised of Brett Anderson (4.64 ERA in 9 starts), Frankie Montas (3.75 ERA in 10 starts), Sean Manaea (3.38 ERA in 23 starts), Trevor Cahill (3.12 ERA in 13 starts), and Edwin Jackson (2.87 ERA in 8 starts). Together their team starting ERA is a very respectable 3.55, though this number is skewed by the fact that Manaea has nearly double the appearances as any other starter in the rotation.

Still, that’s pretty impressive for a team which has a startling four starting pitchers recovering from Tommy John, and another few still on the DL for other reasons.

Generally, the acquisition seems like a good one for the A’s, with little to lose. As Alex Hall writes, Fiers has been, well, on fire. In his last ten starts he boasts a 2.57 ERA, 70 ip, 55 Ks, 16 BB, 9 HR, and a 4.07 FIP. This is considerably better than his season numbers (which are still a much-needed improvement for the A’s) at 3.48 ERA, 119 ip, 87 Ks, 26 BB, 20 HR, 4.66 FIP.

Notice, as Polishik does in his MLB Trade Rumors article, that Fiers may also raise some red flags in his advanced metrics, especially with a FIP (fielding independent pitching) about a run higher than his real-world ERA.

Nonetheless, fans will likely be enjoying the move as a kind of continued confirmation of the team’s growing playoff hopes. After bolstering their bullpen with the addition of Jeurys Familia before the deadline, the A’s seemed to have lost out on acquiring Fiers. But this surprise addition of a strong and trusted starter to their rotation surely demonstrates the organization’s commitment to this group of players, and to the belief that they can actually make a run this October.

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The Oakland Athletics have the best record in the Majors since the All-Star Break, and sit 21 games above .500. That puts them squarely in the second Wild Card spot, 2.5 behind the Yankees for the first Wild Card spot, and a mere 4 games behind the Astros for the division.