Athletics Move to Bulk Up Rotation, Acquire Left-Hander Mike Minor from Rangers

John Hickey

In an effort to bulk up their starting rotation, the A’s pulled off a trade deadline deal with the Texas Rangers, landing left-handed starter Mike Minor in exchange for two players from the A’s 2019 draft who aren’t on the A’s 60-man roster.

The A's confirmed the trade about 12"30 p.m. (PT), about 30 minutes before the trade deadline. 

Minor, an All-Star with the Rangers last year, has had a miserable first five weeks of the 2020 season, winless at 0-5 and with a 5.60 ERA. However, hew threw six scoreless innings on Friday against the Dodgers, the team with the best record in Major League Baseball, his last time out, and threw four scoreless innings against the Mariners in a start earlier in the month.

The A’s came into the season believing their rotation was rock solid, but opening day starter Frankie Montas has struggled since missing a start because of upper back/neck stiffness, and both lefty Sean Manaea and right-handed Mike Fiers are still working out issues. Manaea is 2-2 but with a 5.64 ERA and Fiers, while he owns a 4-1 record, his 4.86 ERA is almost a full point higher than it was in 2019.

Because of Sunday’s postponement and the possibility of games being postponed this week in Seattle, the A’s are likely to have two or three doubleheaders down the stretch, so finding room for Minor might not be at all difficult.

The A’s are hoping that pitching in the cooler air and slightly more spacious Oakland Coliseum will work for Minor, who was 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA last year with 200 strikeouts in 208.1 innings. His strikeouts (35 in 35.1) are up a bit this year, too.

Somewhat alarming is Minor, who had previous stops in Atlanta and Kansas City, having allowed seven homers, about one every five innings.

But looking backward, it was just last year that the lefty led all MLB pitchers with a 7.8 bWAR.

Rangers insiders say he’s struggled to command his changeup, which had been is out pitch. In the win over the Dodgers, however, his changeup had the kind of movement it did in 2019

This is the second trade at the deadline for the A’s, who acquired second baseman Tommy La Stella from the Angels Friday night. La Stella was in the starting lineup for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Under baseball rules, players not on the 60-man roster can’t be traded, but teams can agree on the players and wait until season’s end to name them. Sources said that the players involved are a pair of 2019 A’s draft picks, outfielder Marcus Smith and third baseman Dustin Harris.

As part of the deal, Texas is picking up half of Minor's remaining salary for 2020, about $700,000 and the A's are sending $133,000 in international slot money the Rangers' way.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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