OAKLAND -- With the MLB trade deadline now just four days away, rumors are quickly spreading around the big leagues.
Even with their recent acquisition of Homer Bailey, the A's still figure to be in the market for at least one more starting pitcher. While there should be several quality starters available, Oakland is far from the only club looking to add starting pitching, which could drive the price up.
"I think it's safe to say that everybody could use help in the starting rotation in an effort to get yourself to the postseason and be able to compete in the postseason," NBC Sports California analyst Dallas Braden said Friday. "With that being said, there are guys we have seen that I think can get that job done. Anytime you can get a shot in the arm, à la a Homer Bailey, who was throwing the ball well -- sure, he hit a little bit of a road bump last time out -- that is what it is. But if you can continue to supplement the performances that we're getting out of the guys we already have here, I think everybody would raise their hand and say, 'Sure, we'll take another starter.'"
As it currently stands, the A's rotation consists of Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, Chris Bassitt, Daniel Mengden and Bailey. Fiers has been phenomenal the past three months, winning each of his last seven decisions and registering 12 consecutive quality starts. His 3.52 ERA leads Oakland starters.
Anderson has also been mostly effective with a 9-6 record and 4.05 ERA. After that, it gets a little dicey. Bassitt and Mengden have been wildly inconsistent and Bailey is coming off a two-inning, nine-run disaster in Houston.
"I think what we've seen is that there have obviously been peaks and valleys in their success, and flashes of greatness as well," Braden assessed. "So you're just trying to bottle that and create as much consistency as possible right now. I think what you hope starts to develop is that taste of where we're headed and some friendly competition ensuing -- kind of forcing that next guy who's going to take the ball to do better than you just did."
The A's should also benefit from the expected return of left-hander Sean Manaea in early August, nearly a year after shoulder surgery. Top prospect Jesús Luzardo could potentially be another option in late August or September -- he is currently recovering from a lat strain -- with Marco Estrada possibly returning from his back injury at some point as well.
The next few days should certainly be very interesting all across baseball, especially when it comes to starting pitchers on the move. Expect the A's to make some noise before July 31.
The only question is how loud.