UPDATE: The A’s did not complete this trade and are not acquiring Mike Fiers at this time, nor anyone else. According to insider Jane Lee, “Sounds like the A’s will stand pat today.” Let’s conclude with some wise words from Susan Slusser:
For A's fans disappointed the team didn't make a move today, they made a solid move early in getting Familia and have gotten more value out of it because it was early. Also: they'll continue to monitor the pitching market over the next month. Today isn't the end of trades.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 31, 2018
Tigers GM Al Avila (via Fenech): “It never got to the point where I felt that we were going to make a deal.”
Oakland A’s maybe nearing trade for Mike Fiers, maybe not
The Oakland A’s are “close to a deal” to acquire starting pitcher Mike Fiers from the Tigers, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. It is not yet clear what the A’s might give up in the trade.
The A’s have been connected to Fiers for at least a couple of weeks. Oakland is particularly thin in their starting rotation, thanks to a barrage of injuries throughout the season, but they’ve worked their way into Wild Card contention anyway. Fiers isn’t a massive upgrade in terms of pure performance, but he’d definitely be one of the team’s five best starters and could help eat more bullpen-saving innings than whoever he replaces. He’d represent a huge boost to the rotation’s depth in case of any further injuries, which are never out of the question.
Fiers, 2018: 3.54 ERA, 117 ip, 86 Ks, 26 BB, 20 HR, 4.71 FIP
The addition of Fiers wouldn’t mean the A’s found their new ace, nor anything close to it. But it could push the unreliable Brett Anderson out of the picture, and it lessens the chance of another SP injury fully derailing the playoff chase. Fiers is also under team control for 2019 (eligible for arbitration), so this doesn’t have to be a pure rental.
But wait! We have conflicting reports. Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle disputes the original claim, stating her sources “do not think the A’s are close” to a deal. She does note that the book is not yet closed with a few minutes remaining on the clock before the 1 p.m. deadline. Fenech followed up to report that money is a hangup; Fiers is making $6 million this season. UPDATE: Money actually had nothing to do with it, says Slusser.