OAKLAND (AP) — Mike Fiers may end up with another chance to pitch in the postseason.
The Oakland Athletics acquired the right-hander from the Detroit Tigers on Monday for two players to be named or cash. The 33-year-old Fiers is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA this season.
Fiers was with the World Series champion Astros last year, but he was not included on any of Houston’s postseason rosters. He did make one relief appearance for the Astros in the 2015 Division Series.
The rebuilding Tigers picked Fiers up before the season on a $6 million, one-year contract , and he pitched well enough that he became a candidate to be traded to a contender.
Detroit traded outfielder Leonys Martin to Cleveland, and general manager Al Avila said last week that Oakland and Milwaukee had shown interest in Fiers. But the Tigers weren’t able to work out a deal before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Now the Tigers have sent Fiers to an Oakland team that, if the season ended now, would be the American League’s second wild card.
“There’s always opportunity in August,” Avila said Monday. “There’s going to be plenty of players that were available at the deadline that were not traded.”
The A’s have had 12 different pitchers make at least one start this year. Sean Manaea is 10-7 with a 3.38 ERA, and Trevor Cahill has been solid when healthy. Oakland recently added veteran Edwin Jackson, who is 3-2 with a 2.87 ERA in eight starts for the A’s.
Fiers enters that mix, and he’s enjoyed a nice stretch of late. He’s 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA over his last seven starts.
“Mike is happy to get an opportunity to go pitch in a playoff race, and we’re losing a really good pitcher that did a lot of good things here for us,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said in Anaheim before the Tigers opened a three-game series against the Angels. “So now we’ve got to fill a hole, but I’m happy for him to get this opportunity. It’s a pretty nice time to pitch in the playoffs, and on a run like this, and try to win a World Series ring, so good for him.”
Fiers left his most recent outing, Wednesday against Cincinnati, with a bruised left shin, but he was not expected to miss any more time. Gardenhire believes Fiers played an important role with the Tigers’ young pitching staff during his short time in Detroit.
“He knows how to pitch, and I think some of our guys benefited from that,” Gardenhire said. “He’s not an overpowering guy ... but that’s an art in itself. In the playoffs, when you’re looking for somebody that can come in and not panic, that’s what you need. You’re not going to be put in deep holes with (Fiers on the mound).”
Fiers’ exit means another chance for Jacob Turner, who is now slated to take Fiers’ scheduled start Tuesday night. Turner was once one of the top prospects in the Detroit system. He was traded in 2012 in the deal that brought Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers from the Marlins.
Detroit signed Turner, now 27, to a minor league deal in June. He’s 14-30 with a 5.26 ERA in 101 big league appearances with five teams. He was expected to fly into the Los Angeles area on Monday night.
“He’s been throwing well,” Gardenhire said. “He was the guy that everybody recommended again, and he’s a guy that’s ready to pitch tomorrow. It’s his turn, so we’ll see.”
The A’s also designated left-hander Jeremy Bleich for assignment and optioned second baseman Franklin Barreto to Triple-A Nashville.
Oakland acquired reliever Shawn Kelley from the Washington Nationals on Sunday for $500,000 in international slot money. Washington agreed to send $1,491,828 to Oakland, which covers a portion of the $1,655,914 remaining in Kelley’s $5.5 million salary. That means Oakland pays a prorated share of the $545,000 minimum over the season’s final eight weeks.