The A’s have acquired right-hander Mike Fiers from the Tigers in exchange for cash considerations or two players to be named later, the team has announced (Twitter link). Left-hander Jeremy Bleich has been designated for assignment to create room for Fiers on Oakland’s roster.
Fiers drew attention from multiple clubs prior to the trade deadline, with the Athletics reportedly making a strong bid to land the 33-year-old on deadline day itself. Less than a week later, the A’s finally landed the righty to help reinforce its injury-plagued starting staff, with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that Oakland put a claim on Fiers while he was on revocable trade waivers.
After being non-tendered by the Astros last winter, Fiers signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Tigers and did a solid job of rebuilding his stock after a rough 2017 season. Fiers posted a 3.48 ERA, 6.58 K/9, and 3.35 K/BB rate over 119 innings (21 starts) for Detroit, and has been particularly effective after a slow start to the season, as Fiers has a 2.57 ERA over his last 70 frames.
There are some red flags about his performance, however, most notably the career-low (over a full season) strikeout rate and swinging strike rate (8.3 %). Fiers is getting away with allowing some hard contact, as evidenced by the gap between his .321 wOBA and his .345 xwOBA, and he has also benefited from an 83.1% strand rate and a .277 BABIP. Advanced metrics such as FIP (4.66), xFIP (4.82) and SIERA (4.54) all sit over a run higher than his real-world ERA.
Even if a bit of regression is in order, Fiers will likely still represent an upgrade for an A’s rotation that has posted middling numbers over the course of the season (though they have been dominant as of late). Fiers joins ace Sean Manaea and veterans Brett Anderson, Edwin Jackson, and Trevor Cahill in the Athletics’ starting five, and Fiers is also an option for the 2019 staff, as he is controlled via salary arbitration. It’s worth noting that Fiers left his last start after just two innings after being hit in the shin with a line drive, though the injury isn’t thought to be particularly serious, and obviously the A’s weren’t concerned enough to hold off on making the trade.
As per Slusser, the Tigers have the option of taking money back for Fiers, or selecting two names from a list of prospects. It’s safe to assume that none of Oakland’s top minor leaguers are on that list, though Detroit should still get some kind of decent return on their $6MM investment in Fiers in the offseason.
Bleich made his Major League debut this season, appearing in two games for the A’s though getting through just one-third of an inning. A supplemental first-round pick (44th overall) for the Yankees in the 2008 draft, Bleich has pitched for five different organizations over 10 professional seasons and he also played for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Bleich has a 3.92 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 2.06 K/BB rate over 601 1/3 career minor league innings.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
I’m impressed with the moves the A’s have made. Nothing terribly flashy, but all effective pieces, at minimal costs. BB doesn’t make very many mistakes.
He’s also never won a single thing.
Dodgers haven’t either with their enormous payroll and international deals they’ve done last 5 years or so…
Would love a ring, sure. But it’s impressive what he’s done with the payroll he’s had. Any low payroll team would gladly take the success he’s had.
1-16 in playoff series clinch games in Beane’s tenure means he very easily could have won several titles if dumb luck went his way and stuff like if Giambi knew how to slide, if the 2014 WC game wasn’t the wildest playoff game of recent memory that they came out the losers of, etc.
I dare you to watch any A’s clinch game, most of them were unbelievably close game 5’s and that wild card game. It’s unfathomable how bad they are in the late innings in postseason series clinch games (as in, they win the game, they advance). Curse of Moneyball, it’s a thing.
Verlander absolutely owned the As in the playoffs.
So many gut-punch moments for the A’s in clinch games. Others coming to mind:
If Eric Byrnes touched home plate, if Miguel Tejada hadn’t stopped to protest interference and scored.
Not to mention being in the playoffs the only year MLB decided to give the lower seed the first two home games (against Detroit) in which we had an 11am PST for game one.
Yes he definitely did, and might do again this season.
7 ALDS appearances:
6 3-2 losses
1 3-0 win (then a 4-0 loss to Detroit)
I think I’d rather follow a bad team that just crawls in there and gets whooped decent and swept and be like “meh, we didn’t really have a good team this year anyway” than to come to game 5’s constantly after youve proven you can beat this team at least twice in a series, yet never 3 times.
The most frustrating part of many of those 3-2 series losses is not only did we best the opposition twice, we only needed to win one out of three to clinch. And we couldn’t do it. Oh well though. I’ll never stop being an A’s fan.
Moneyball isn’t a book, its a curse.
More like CB Bucknor owned us.
I remember that game well. Verlander got 12 gifts from the umpire in that one game alone. Don’t believe me? Check pitchfx. Sonny Gray only got 3 beneficial calls or so. By the middle of the game Verlander had figured out how to milk the ump for strikes, and that’s when the A’s basically started swinging at everything.
Hey, Detroit was really hurting at the time. I’ll let it slide, though it was too ridiculous too watch that whole game.
I’m sure I’ll get ripped for this, but every time I see that Jeter play I still think Giambi is safe. But yeah, slide man!
2014 was a haunting season. The last couple months were so painful to watch. We get in the playoffs via WC and despite feeling like it was new life to get in and with a strong start to the game those Royals just wouldn’t die.
Macha pinch hitting Melhuse for Dye in 2003 when all we needed was a sac fly.
2001 or 2002 when Zito gives up 1 (maybe 2) hits but it’s a jack to Posada and still loses.
Against the Tigers Reddick going back on that HR ball and the fan interfering. Expecting an out for fan interference, and instead he’s granted the HR because the umps determine he had no chance. It would have been a circus catch sure, but I’ve seen Reddick make plenty circus catches. He could have snow-coned it, but a Tiger fan interfering on a ball in play and they get the benefit of the call?
Those are the hardest ones for me.
He won a WS last year
“He’s also never won a single thing.”
Wrong. Credit where credit is due…..
With the living legend BB in charge, his teams have in fact won one playoff game in 20 years.
The A’s earthquake WS was with Sandy Alderson as GM. He taught BB analytics as he had been using them for years. But that fact would have ruined the movie.
The A’s have one playoff series (2006), not one playoff game in the last 20 years
You are correct. It was a 1st round series.
(It’s been so long, I forgot.)
And that is how legends are made.
Ah yes, So by your rationale, there is only one team (the team that won the WS) each season that can be considered a success. Ask any GM, they plan their team building around regular season success because:
1.) There is no postseason without it
2) Postseason is a HUGE crap shoot, so much so that outside of Houston last year, the consensus best team rarely wins the World Series.
While he may not have won a title, he is most certainly successful.
1-16 in postseason series deciding games under Beane. That’s losing in a game 5 SIX TIMES since 2000. Then the WC game. A’s fans have it rough, because the team is never actually blown off the map other than 1 time, the 2006 ALCS. But that record is absolutely insane and cruel.
8 postseason appearances:
6 3-2 losses
1 Wild Card game loss
1 4-0 loss (the only time they made the ALCS)
Except for a World Series…
Ahhhhh! The earthquake series!
As a true baseball fan, I would LOVE seeing those flying A’s shock the baseball world and get into the series.
Even the big money baseball giants can trip and fall.
But when he does.. man are they big.
Still, liking the moves this offseason. B.B. is embracing the patchwork style of this roster. Very fun to root for
Josh Donaldson trade??
Interesting return for DET – 2 PTBNLs or cash. Looking forward to seeing how that shakes out.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen cash or 2 players before. Makes me think the Tigers and A’s were discussing a list before the non waiver deadline and that list is close to being completed but still a little fluid.
The fact that cash considerations are a possibility means that list is probably very unimpressive.
Report from the Free Press is that cash considerations clause is a virtual requirement for protection in case the players involved become injured. Ultimately it should be two players.
Good knowledge, thanks for that. Another thing that bodes well for us is that its 2 players – probably makes the quality of them lesser as well.
Knew it would happen. Made too much sense
Meanwhile the Padres are giving away their Veteran expiring contracts because “their system is too deep to add more”, so they’d rather have the 40 man spot lol.
Mike Fiers’ ERA is a full run lower than both Lyles and Ross and is not a rental. How are they comparable?
I agree, not comparable. But at same time it was a shock to me that all they got for Ross was payroll relief. I would have thought for sure they would have gotten something at least for him just a week ago.
Agreed. At least thought SD would get a very low level prospect out of Ross
The trade that began a week ago.
Am I the only one a little more than surprised the Mariners let him pass through?
Ya that actually makes no sense. They could’ve either used him or at the very least block Oakland.
According to that mlbtr post, it’s like 48 hours to clear wavers, and 48 hours to negotiate a trade. I suspect Oakland had a higher priority by like a half game or by win percentage when Fiers was placed on waivers.
Or the Angels. He’s controllable beyond this year. The Angels could use pitching for the next year.
If the Mariners had put in a blocking claim they might have got him for nothing except the pro rated 6M salary
That and I’d rather have Fiers than Felix at this point.
A’s Billy Beane and Co… Just masterful… Watch out Yankees…
Yanks not making the post season! Cash should of been gone long ago!
You are either a troll or know nothing about baseball. Cashman has done a great job.
Great job?? 1 WS in 2 decades??
Winning once in a twenty year period, when it’s a 30 team league, is not the poor showing you imply.
Never said it was poor but it sure is far from great!
Cashman is the best GM in sports
If Mr. Steinbrenner was alive he would of been gone long ago!!
Why did he stay in that post for 10+ years before Steinbrenner passed away?
Bob Myers is and it’s not close.
Theo led 2 perennial losers to their first titles in centuries in the same time it took that clown with unlimited money to win 1 with the team that wins all the time.
If he’s only won 1, then no, they don’t win all the time, do they?
Sample sizes baby.
Also, that’s exactly why HES NOT GOOD AT HIS JOB!!!
hate to see him go.
he’s a fighter. A’s will be happy.
His catcher will be Jonathan Lucroy, who caught him when he enjoyed his greatest success with the Brewers..
I thought he’d go to the Blue Jays: Where there’s Smoak, there’s Fiers…….
Lots of Smoak in garbage Fiers…
As an A’s fan I tend to be very negative about their pick ups, but as long as the potential players to be named later isn’t our top prospects it seems like a no brained to pick him up
“It is a little surprising that no National League teams claimed Fiers….”
I thought that, since Fiers was on an AL team, the waiver process would go through all of the AL teams before even the last place NL team got a shot? Therefore the A’s claimed Fiers before any NL teams had a chance?
Can anyone clarify what I’m missing?
I wondered about the same statement. I think it is an error. Has it been corrected yet?
You’re right, no NL team even had a chance so that comment in the article doesn’t make sense.
Right. Though it is surprising Mariners let him pass over them!
The A’s are higher than the Mariners on the list for acquiring waiver players because they had a worse record last season.
Not how it works during season…. it was whoever had the worse record as of the day of the claims
A New York collapse is on the horizon.
Does it even matter? They can spend $1billion on payroll and stack the roster with trades and will still at best have to win a wildcard playoff game to advance.
Houston might be on the ropes too. Only 4 game lead from Oakland on August 6.
The writer of this piece does not know how the waiver process works. He said he was surprised none of the National League teams put in a claim. They never had the opportunity since a player has to clear waivers through every team in their league first. So since Detroit is the American League all the other 14 teams had to not claim him before any National league would have a chance to claim him.
I didn’t know that the leagues mattered, good to know
During season… in offseason they don’t
The fact that it’s 2 PTBNL or cash is a great sign for us – these must be very low level players.
Fiers is a slight upgrade to our rotation, though regression is coming. Would expect him to be non-tendered though, so were likely paying 7 week rental prices. Solid move. Here’s hoping Hellickson goes through trade waivers soon as well
Could turn out to be a very good prospect. The A’s will need to make some tough decisions. Nunez and was a good prospect that was claimed after spring training. Boog Powell could be one left off the 40 man. Bassit. Maybe Maxwell can go to the tigers.
Nunez wasn’t a good prospect… he was always a no defense DH only who couldn’t take a walk… he’s got power, that’s about it
Nunez wasn’t a good prospect… he was always a no defense DH only who couldn’t take a walk… he’s got power, that’s about it
Also, PLEASE take Maxwell… we don’t want him
I dont know that we have that many good prospects that are on the 40 bubble right now. We have a lot of guys that probably arent on the 40 next year (Graveman, Lucas) as well as a few guys who are expiring (LuCroy, Lowrie, Anderson, Cahill, Jackson, Familia, Kelley). Also wouldnt expect Fiers to be offered arbitration.
Could see a bit of a roster crunch, but nothing that’s concerning. Nunez, for example, wasnt a big loss. Boog would – I love him – but I dont think Bassitt or Maxwell would be overly concerning either.
This is Edwin Jackson 2.0
Meh I think they have it down pretty well just made a simple mistake. I myself did same thing with Ross. My initial reaction was how did A’s/Mariners let him pass without claiming before it clicked Padres and Cardinals are NL and A’s/Mariners never even had a chance to get him if Cardinals claimed him first.
I can see it. He’ll definitely outperform his FIP with this outrageously good defense the A’s have this year.
A’s are a dangerous team. Alex Cora said he couldn’t wait for them to get out of town after the last series in Boston and they’re only getting better. Smart moves.
I’m curious….let’s say that Fiers cleared waivers before the trade happened….and the A’s decided to flip him again to another team after this trade. Would Fiers need to clear waivers a second time before that could take place?
Good question. Yes, Fiers would have to go through revocable waivers yet again.
Thank you…was just wondering how that process would work if it did happen to go down… Thank you for answering my curiosity…
Who’s on the list that Detroit can select from?
Yes I wanna see the list too. Smarter for them to take a player over the cash.
Here’s something I don’t understand, can someone explain:
Mike Fiers was granted free agency, then signed a 1 year deal with Detroit. But he’s still under arbitration? Why did he have to sign a free agent contract if he’s still under arbitration?
if a team decides to non-tender a player with less than 6 MLB years service time, he still becomes a free agent, but the team that signs him to his next contract controls him through the amount of time he has left until he hits 6 years
What you said PLUS a team could non-tender him next year if desired.
Thanks again, makes sense. I could also see Oakland trading him either in the offseason or early in 2019, when the big wave of SPs are ready.
I would say the earliest they would try to rid themselves of him would be around the trading deadline in 2019 when I would guess the majority of their next wave of pitching will be ready/healed…unless he’s atrocious
He’s a non-tender candidate at his likey salary of 9-10 million next year
The Hall of Fame should go and acquire Kenny Lofton
lmao why are you posting this in every thread?
A’s keep on winning and keep on stocking up. Meanwhile, the Mariners keep regressing.
Newsflash: Mariners were not good to begin with. Lots of unsustainable luck that everyone saw coming from miles away.
Bigger idea: Are the A’s better than the Astros yet? Are they a Luzardo away?
That’s bold, but Jesus Lizard did have a decent start in AAA tonight. Lots of traffic but he worked out of it!
Cheap move for the A’s. I like how they’re adding without really subtracting. Their discipline is fascinating.
They have 6 more games with the Astros. I hope Fiers gets the face his former team. It will be interesting.
It may be that at least one of the PTBNL could be on the current 40, preventing him from being moved w/o clearing waivers. I’d be surprised, but it is possible.
what i understand is there is a list of 6 players the tigers agreed too… detroit can now take there time to pick the 2 check medicals and even put in extra scouting time…both will be low end players,,,but 2 lottery tickets then just the one that the athlectics where originally offering…looks to me like a good trade for A’s and another garbage trade by avilia…of all the trades we have done we have basically obtained nothing….this tiger rebuild will take years very sad….
Got to appreciate the A’s front office in getting the necessary pieces in place to “stay” in the playoff run. Just don’t think it will be enough to go up against the “loaded” Astros. Astros making a risky move to acquire Osuna will make the BP formidable.