The Oakland Athletics acquired left-hander Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers on Monday, bolstering their rotation as they seek to hold on to their lead in the American League West, sources familiar with the trade told ESPN.
Minor, 32, has been a rotation stalwart for the Rangers since signing a three-year, $28 million entering the 2018 season. He struggled over his first half-dozen starts this season, but his six shutout innings against a potent Los Angeles Dodgers offense Friday illustrated his ability.
Oakland, which gave up two players to be named later in the deal, sought help for a starting staff that entered trade deadline day with a 4.84 ERA. Although rookie Jesus Luzardo and right-hander Chris Bassitt have been solid, Mike Fiers‘ low strikeout and high home run rates are of concern, and Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas have ERAs of 5.64 and 6.06, respectively. The A’s nevertheless are 22-12, the third-best record in baseball, and hold a 2½-game lead over the Houston Astros in their division.
Minor, who is owed a little less than $2 million for the remainder of the season, is due to hit free agency this winter. His fastball velocity has taken a step back this season, going from an average of 92.6 mph last year to 90.6 mph, but he still has struck out 35 in 35⅓ innings. His propensity to allow home runs has boosted his ERA to 5.60.
He was a highly sought-after trade candidate last deadline and over the winter, but Texas held on to him in hopes of contending this season. At 12-21, the Rangers have the fourth-worst record in baseball and have also talked with teams about potentially moving right-hander Lance Lynn, who has emerged as a front-line starter, and slugger Joey Gallo.