- ESPN MLB insider
Author of "The arm: Inside the mystery of the billions of dollars of the most valuable merchandise in sports"
The A's reinforced their embattled rotation by acquiring right-hander Homer Bailey of the Kansas City Royals, Oakland announced Sunday.
Bailey, 33, has experienced a kind of revival in 2019, with his highest strikeout rate in more than half a decade, along with a record of 7-6 and 4.80 ERA, his best number in that category since 2014. His Numbers have also improved over the last month and a half, as he had a 3.48 ERA in June, with a 3-1 record, and an ERA of 3.60 in July.
Bailey was ready to pitch for Kansas City on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, but was eliminated from the game shortly before his scheduled start.
In return, the Royals received Kevin Merrell, a 23-year-old double-A infielder who batted .246 / .292 / .339 and whose highest attribute is his speed.
While Bailey is making $ 23 million this season, Oakland will be on the hook for less than $ 250,000. After negotiating with him in a salary exchange during the winter, the The Los Angeles Dodgers cut Bailey and took almost his entire contract. The Royals signed him for the minimum of $ 555,000 in the majors, and Oakland will pay a prorated portion of that for the rest of the season.
With 52-41, Oakland currently holds the second wild card spot in the American League and follows the Tampa Bay Rays for the best wild card for 1½ games. The A's are six games away from the Houston Astros in the American League West, although their over-80 run differential is similar to the Astros' over-86.
Oakland's rotation, which was hit with the PED suspension of starter Frankie Montas, however, has been solid, backed by one of baseball's best defenses. Starters Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson and Chris Bbaditt are less than 4.00 ERA. Oakland could also see the reinforcements coming off the disabled list, with Jharel Cotton in Triple-A recovering from the surgery of Tommy John and Sean Manaea in the upper clbad after shoulder surgery.
Kansas City is expected to negotiate with more players before the July 31 trading deadline, including reliever Jake Diekman and, if they pay a significant amount of their salary, closer Ian Kennedy.