The non-waiver Trade Deadline may be in the rearview mirror, but the A's are not done making moves as they continue their unexpected postseason push.
On Monday they acquired right-hander Mike Fiers from the Tigers in exchange for two players to be named or cash. Oakland designated left-hander Jeremy Bleich for assignment to clear a spot on its 40-man roster.
The A's, who entered Monday with a 2 1/2-game lead over the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot, finalized the deal for Fiers a day after winning their sixth straight game and completing a sweep of the Tigers in Oakland. There is a chance Fiers will makes his A's debut during the upcoming two-game series against the Dodgers, according to general manager David Forst.
Forst added during a conference call that the A's were looking for starters. The rotation has been makeshift for much of the season, with 12 pitchers getting a start; Sean Manaea is the only current starter who began the season in the rotation. Two -- Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill -- began the season in the Minors, and Edwin Jackson joined the team midseason.
But Anderson, Jackson and Cahill combined to allow no earned runs in the A's sweep of the Tigers over the weekend. It was the first time the A's didn't allow an earned run in a three-game series since 1918.
"I didn't realize our starters would go out and have the best three-game series in 100 years," Forst said.
Still, Forst decided to be aggressive -- even after the Deadline -- to bolster a rotation that has struggled to pitch deep into games. Only once since July 4 has a starter gone seven or more innings.
The A's and Tigers finalized the deal under the 48-hour deadline on Monday morning after the A's made the waiver claim on Fiers.
Forst said Fiers not being a rental played a role in the A's interest.
"The fact that he was under contract for next year was a factor in the conversation," he said.
Forst said that Fiers' repertoire will play well at the Coliseum, thanks to his ability to induce fly balls.
The move is the latest in a string of trades the A's -- who have baseball's best record since June 16 and have entrenched themselves in a postseason race -- have made to improve the pitching staff. They acquired Jeurys Familia from the Mets before the Deadline, and on Sunday they acquired Shawn Kelley from the Nationals to bolster their already strong bullpen. Forst said they might not be done, pointing out that in 2014, the A's traded for Adam Dunn on the last day of August.
"It's hard to be aggressive when the opportunities are so limited," Forst said. "We will continue to look. Through August, even into September, there may be ways to augment the roster."
Forst was impressed by how Fiers has been pitching of late. Before leaving Wednesday's start early, Fiers recorded consecutive quality starts against the Astros, Red Sox and Indians. The A's were interested in him before the Deadline, but the two teams could not come to an agreement in time.
Forst did not comment on which players might be sent to the Tigers, but said they are not on the 40-man roster. The A's have also not announced moves to get both Fiers and Kelley onto the 25-man roster, so it is likely two players will be sent down before Tuesday's game against the Dodgers.
Fiers, 33, went 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 21 starts with Detroit this season. With 26 walks in 119 innings, he ranks eighth in the AL with 1.97 walks per nine innings. He is 49-53 with a 4.06 ERA in 162 games (144 starts) in his big league career.
Fiers was selected by the Brewers in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft. He has pitched for Milwaukee, Houston and Detroit in eight Major League seasons. He was dealt to the Astros just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2015, and he went 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) with Houston the rest of that season. He signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers as a free agent after the '17 season.
Bleich, 31, made his big league debut for the A's this year, allowing two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning over two relief appearances. He is 1-1 with one save and a 2.91 ERA over 31 relief appearances for Triple-A Nashville this season.