The A’s made a couple of trades to plug holes on the roster prior to the MLB trade deadline.
On Monday, Oakland acquired left-handed pitcher Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers for two players to be named later and international bonus pool money. The prospects reportedly are outfielder Marcus Smith and third baseman Dustin Harris, both 2019 MLB draft picks.
Former A’s pitcher and current NBC Sports California analyst Dave Stewart discussed the impact Minor could, and perhaps couldn’t, have on the rotation.
“Minor has had some decent years, he’s not been a starter, he’s been competitive, which is probably the word I would use, at best, and how exactly he fits into that rotation right now, I’m not really sure,” Stewart said.
Minor, an AL All-Star selection last season, has a 5.60 ERA, 1.358 WHIP with 35 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings this year. It’s also not rare for the A’s to grab a veteran starter around the deadline.
It's possible Minor could be the sixth man, or Chris Bassitt could move back to the bullpen to free up a rotation spot for Minor. Bassitt showed he was capable of doing last season with then-closer Blake Treinen missing time with some back pain.
Rookie A.J. Puk also has been sidelined with a left shoulder strain suffered prior to Opening Day and was looking to be part of the rotation this season. Puk has been throwing to hitters at the alternate site in San Jose and A’s manager Bob Melvin hopes Puk could be back as early as this week.
But Stewart was hoping the A's would make a bigger splash at the deadline.
“My expectation was the A’s were going to do something on the front-end of their rotation,” Stewart said. “I was expecting them to go out and pick up a guy like Lance Lynn.”
Lynn was a hot item on the rumor mill for the Rangers, but ultimately he stayed put.
Stewart said the reason he likes Lynn was how he stayed true to what the A’s would want salary-wise.
“This year he’s making $10 million so you’d be paying a percentage of the $10 million to finish off this season," Stewart said. "And then next year is a very friendly contract of $8 million."
Lynn’s playoff experience could have been an extra boost for the A's, especially with the team a virtual lock to make the postseason.
For what they have now, Stewart believes the reason why the rotation wasn’t messed with too much has to do with the A’s confidence in the starting rotation now with Jesús Luzardo, Mike Fiers and Bassitt. The team also hopes Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas can return to form, so that’s certainly a positive.