Athletics

A's bolster rotation by acquiring Homer Bailey in trade with Royals

homerbaileyusa.jpg
USATSI

A's bolster rotation by acquiring Homer Bailey in trade with Royals

OAKLAND -- The A's officially have begun their annual trade deadline wheeling and dealing.

Sunday morning, Oakland acquired veteran starting pitcher Homer Bailey from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league middle infielder Kevin Merrell. Bailey, 33, is expected to make his first start for the A's on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.

"He's been pitching really well as of late," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Bailey. "He's beaten some good teams this year. Before he got hurt, obviously, he was an electric arm and it seems like he's coming back to form at this point. I think it makes our rotation better and I think that's the objective at this point."

To Melvin's point, Bailey is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in his last eight starts. For the season, the right-hander is 7-6 with a 4.80 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and has battled injuries since then, but appears to now be healthy.

"I think (our) players feel these things," Melvin said. "They want to feel like the front office is going out and making us better and typically they do that. It certainly doesn't mean we're done, but it's nice to get somebody in the rotation that we feel like is going to make us better."

Bailey spent his first 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, throwing a pair of no-hitters in 2012 and 2013. This past offseason, he signed a minor league deal with the Royals. The A's only will be responsible for about $250,000 of his league-minimum salary.

As for Merrell, the former first-round draft pick was ranked as Oakland's number 17 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The 23-year-old was slashing .246/.292/.339 with two home runs, 34 RBI and 13 stolen bases this season at Double-A Midland. Merrell has top-notch speed but scouts have had concerns about his hitting ability.

[RELATED: Bassitt makes adjustment after advice from A's veterans]

The A's are still expected to add more pitching before Major League Baseball's July 31 Trade Deadline. Oakland likely will seek bullpen help and potentially could add another starter.

Tanner Roark continues to pay off for A's, stymies Yankees in 5-3 win

Tanner Roark continues to pay off for A's, stymies Yankees in 5-3 win

The A's were rumored to be in the mix for some of the star pitchers available at the MLB trade deadline last month. Instead, they ended up with Tanner Roark.

And, as evidenced in their 5-3 win over the Yankees on Thursday night at Oakland Coliseum, one could make the case the A's are better off.

Roark posted his third consecutive quality start, limiting the Bronx Bombers to seven hits and two runs over 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven. The end result? The completion of a sweep of the best team in the AL.

The A's finished off that sweep without closer Liam Hendriks, who got the night off after completing a five-out save Wednesday. Perhaps even more impressive, Oakland did so without the aid of a single home run.

The sweep comes on the heels of another impressive series, in which the A's took three of four from the AL West-leading Astros, who sit just a single victory behind New York for the league’s best record.

Six wins in seven games -- well, it's actually seven in eight -- is impressive enough. To do so against top-level competition is difficult to overlook.

"It shows what kind of clubhouse we have, what kind of guys we have in here," Roark told reporters after the win. "Sticking together and trusting one another that if someone doesn't do the job the first time, someone else will pick them up the next time. That's what it's all about."

To acquire Roark from the Reds, the A's had to part with top-10 prospect Jameson Hannah. It likely would have cost considerably more for Oakland to land one of the available stars, but even that price might have seemed a little steep at the time.

Not anymore.

In each of his four starts with the A’s, Roark has gone at least five innings without allowing more than two earned runs (for a total of seven). In his previous four starts with Cincinnati, he never once topped five innings, and never allowed fewer than two runs (for a total of 16).

With the A's completing the sweep, and the Indians suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Mets, Oakland jumped into the lead for the first AL wild-card spot, just percentage points ahead of Tampa Bay. The Reds, on the other hand, won't come close to sniffing the playoff.

[RELATED: Khrush hopes opposite-field homer can break brutal slump]

Clearly, Roark has responded well to his new environment, and should the A's succeed in their pursuit of a wild-card spot, one has to imagine he'll be a lot happier than he would’ve been had there not been a trade.

If Roark keeps this up, you can bet the A's will feel the same way, too.

Watch A's Prize Patrol surprise lucky fan Jason M. with $5,000

Watch A's Prize Patrol surprise lucky fan Jason M. with $5,000

For Jason M., it literally paid off to watch Wednesday's A's broadcast on NBC Sports California.

Jason is the second winner of the A's Prize Patrol contest and won $5,000, which was presented to him on Thursday evening.

Additionally, the A's will match the $5,000 prize and donate it to Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area.

So what did Jason have to do in order to win the $5,000 grand prize? On Wednesday, he tuned in to A's-Yankees game, and when a secret code was revealed, he went to https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/prizepatrol  and filled out the form.

Five random finalists were selected on Thursday, and each was asked to write 50 words on what makes them such big A's fans.

“We’re a family of true Oakland A’s fans," Jason wrote. "I’ve started teaching my 4-year old to bat and he insists he’ll play for the A’s someday. And, I kid you not, my wife and I even watched the A’s games from our hospital delivery room for both of our children!”

A's In-Stadium host Kara Tsuboi, mascot Stomper, A's Prize Patrol and NBC Sports California surprised Jason at his home on Thursday night.

If you want the chance to follow in Jason's footsteps and win $5,000 for yourself and a charity, you have two more chances this season.

Watch these two upcoming game broadcasts for the secret code:

Sept. 3 vs. Los Angeles Angels
Sept. 6 vs. Detroit Tigers

Once the secret code is revealed, you can enter the contest here.

The A's Prize Patrol was created as a way for the team and NBC Sports California to reward fans for tuning in to A's broadcasts. Watch the A’s to win and support your community.