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Surging A's looking like contenders at break

MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- The up-and-coming A's are coming in hot. Their young core is booming ahead of schedule, building baseball's best record since June 16 to earn entrance into the playoff conversation.

Only three games back of American League West-rival Seattle for the second AL Wild Card spot, Oakland's ability to showcase sustained success out of the break will be critical ahead of the looming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

OAKLAND -- The up-and-coming A's are coming in hot. Their young core is booming ahead of schedule, building baseball's best record since June 16 to earn entrance into the playoff conversation.

Only three games back of American League West-rival Seattle for the second AL Wild Card spot, Oakland's ability to showcase sustained success out of the break will be critical ahead of the looming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The offense is rolling. The bullpen is steady. The starting staff ... not so much. Will the A's take action to address this?

Current status: Buyer
The A's are in position to buy, rather than sell, after putting together the fifth-best record in the AL despite entering the season with baseball's lowest payroll and modest expectations. This means would-be selloffs Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy are staying put as Oakland looks to add instead of subtract for the first time since 2014.

What they are seeking
Arms. The A's will scan any and all available options within their price range -- i.e. the middle tier. This includes not just starters -- Oakland has already used 12 of them -- but relievers to join a supporting cast behind the electrifying duo of Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen and shorten the game. Just how much ownership is willing to dish out remains to be seen, but the A's certainly deserve the chance to see this thing through.

What they have to offer
A once-barren farm system is now brimming with talent thanks to years-long work clocked by the front office. Through a series of trades, Oakland now boasts some of the best prospects in the game and would seemingly be unwilling to part with the majority of them. The A's will have to give a little to get a little, though, and they could find themselves dangling a handful of names they could stand to sacrifice; several attractive pieces are outside of their Top 10 prospects list, including outfielders Ramon Laureano and Greg Deichmann, and pitchers Norge Ruiz and Nolan Blackwood.

Possible scenario
The A's could turn to the Padres for help and stage a reunion with starter Tyson Ross, one of the more affordable options on the market. San Diego also has a couple of relievers that could be of interest to Oakland in Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen. Other potential assets available on the trade market: Detroit's Francisco Liriano and Minnesota's Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.

Oakland Athletics