Posted on August 6, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Mike Fiers

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The Oakland Athletics continue to be busy on the trade market. On Monday, the team acquired starting pitcher Mike Fiers from the Detroit Tigers in a waiver trade. As part of the deal, the Tigers will either receive cash or two prospects to be named later from a list of possible players.

Fiers was a forgotten man on the free agent market this past winter. He was let go by the Houston Astros after a disappointing 2017 campaign. The Tigers took a flyer on him and have been pleasantly surprised by his performance. In 21 starts, Fiers is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA. It’s the first time since 2012 that Fiers has made this many starts and managed to be this consistent. In fact, Fiers has gotten better as the season has gone along, posting a 2.23 ERA over five starts in July.

“We’ve been looking for starters, so we were lucky that Mike was available to us,” said A’s GM David Forst. “We were excited to get it done just under the wire this morning.”

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Oakland nearly acquired Fiers prior to the non-waiver trade deadline last week. Even though a deal with the Tigers couldn’t be worked out, the A’s were quick to claim Fiers when he hit the waiver wire.

“At the time, we weren’t that comfortable with what the return was,” explained Tigers GM Al Avila said. “This time around, there is a second player involved. It gives us two chances to get it right. Out of the short list we have agreed on, we feel like we will be happy with the return.”

As for the A’s, they have created a makeshift starting rotation composed primarily of pitchers like Fiers, those who have been cast aside by other organizations but have found new life in Oakland. It’s not how the A’s may have scripted things at the start of the season. But things appear to be working out in their favor, as they currently hold the second wild-card spot in the American League.

Edwin Jackson was a minor league free agent less than two months ago. He has since posted a 2.87 ERA in eight starts with the A’s. Trevor Cahill started the season in the minors and then endured a stint on the DL. However, he’s now 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 13 starts. Fiers should fit right into the Oakland rotation along those guys and young ace Sean Manaea.

“He’s pitched really well of late,” Forst said of Fiers. “The fact he’s faced Cleveland, Boston, and Houston in three of his last four starts and went six innings in those games, that’s a pretty good indication of how he’s been pitching”

The A’s have also worked to improve an already strong bullpen. They acquired Jeurys Familia from the Mets to help set up for closer Blake Treinen. They also added Shawn Kelley over the weekend when the Nationals were desperate to get rid of him.

With all the recent additions, it’s not a coincidence that the A’s began Monday on a six-game winning streak. They have quickly gone from afterthought to favorites to land a wild-card spot. The addition of Fiers should help Oakland continue to play winning baseball. It could be a move that helps the A’s secure their first playoff birth since 2014.

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