OAKLAND -- While the A's were negotiating a trade for starting pitcher Tanner Roark on Wednesday, their division rivals were busy putting together a superteam.
The Houston Astros came away as the big MLB trade deadline winners, acquiring six-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Houston's starting rotation now features Greinke, former AL MVP Justin Verlander, three-time All-Star Gerrit Cole, and former All-Star Wade Miley.
"I'd still take Houston's rotation," A's manager Bob Melvin joked. "They seem to have gotten a little bit better too. It's rare that you have three true aces -- number one guys -- at the top of your rotation. So it makes our job a little bit tougher, but we're more focused on what we're doing right now than them. But I'm sure A.J. (Hinch) and those guys are pretty happy with what they've accomplished as well."
The Astros entered Wednesday eight games ahead of the A's for first place in the AL West, and they seriously strengthened their chances at a third straight division title. However, the A's won't concern themselves with what other teams do.
"We can't really sort of get involved in keeping up with the Joneses," Oakland general manager David Forst said. "It's just never how we've operated. We wanted to add a starter. I had no illusions that Houston wasn't going to go out and do the same thing. In fact, I'm sure we were competing in some conversations with them. We have to play them eight more times, so it affects us going forward, but otherwise, we were focused on what we needed to do."
The A's ended up adding two starting pitchers -- Roark and Homer Bailey -- and reliever Jake Diekman before Wednesday's deadline. Most importantly, they did it without giving up anyone on the 40-man roster.
"That's pretty impressive to be able to get two major league starters like that," Melvin said. "And then to add Jake Diekman, as you saw last night. So it makes us a better team, without a doubt. You have to give Billy (Beane) and David (Forst) credit for not just stopping after one or two acquisitions. Tanner Roark was a tough get for us, so hats off to them."
Forst says he accomplished everything he had hoped the past few weeks, strengthening both his bullpen and starting rotation. He now feels comfortable moving forward with the current roster.
"I think we're in a lot better shape than we were at the All-Star break," Forst said. "I think we went into the break worried about what happens if we have an injury or how does our rotation look, and I feel a lot better about it now."