Oakland Athletics: How Mike Minor can make an impact in the Bay Area

The Oakland Athletics have reportedly traded for veteran pitcher Mike Minor.

The Oakland Athletics continued an aggressive trade deadline approach by acquiring starting pitcher Mike Minor in a deadline trade with the Texas Rangers.

Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver, the move will see outfielder Marcus Smith and third baseman Dustin Harris, two minor-leaguers, move to Texas in the exchange.

The move marks the second A’s trasaction this trade season, after trading for utility infielder Tommy La Stella from the Los Angeles Angels earlier in the week.

The impact on the Oakland Athletics

The young A’s pitching staff has yielded mixed results so far in 2020. While the strength of the team was clearly their power offense, the franchise was relying a great deal on their budding starters to fuel a postseason run.

In terms of wins and losses, the A’s have been fantastic.

The teams 22-12 record give them a 2.5 game edge over the division rival Houston Astros and is just behind the 24-11 Tampa Bay Rays for the best record in the American League. Barring a spectacular collapse, the Athletics appear to be one of the mid-season favorites to win the World Series.

However, there are some cracks in the plan. The Athletics’ starting rotation has not been as strong as the team had hoped. Phenom Jesus Luzardo has established himself as the de facto ace of the team with a pristine 3.75 ERA and team high 34 strikeouts over 33.2 innings.

While the remaining starters all have good winning records, several have struggled in overall efficiency.

Mike Fiers has been average with a 4.86 ERA, while players like Frankie Montas (6.06 ERA) and Sean Manaea (5.64 ERA) have been disappointing. Breakout Chris Bassitt and his 3.72 ERA has been the only other consistent source of good pitching.

Montas and Manaea both have the stuff and potential to break out of their slump at any moment. However, this particular A’s team appears to be too talented to enter the postseason with two starters with an ERA above 5.00.

This is where Minor could make a real impact. While the 32-year-old veteran has struggled so far this season, he is another player with the potential an immediate turnaround.

Currently, Minor holds a below-average 5.60 ERA. He also has a 0-5 record over seven starts. However, his level of production in 2019 makes him worth a flier.

Minor posted the best season of his career to the tune of a 3.59 ERA, a 14-10 record, and an All-Star appearance. He also finished eighth in AL Cy Young voting.

Minor has spent the entirety of the shortened 2020 season pitching for a middling Rangers team with very little to play for. The jolt of pitching for a small-market franchise with legitimate championship aspirations could be exactly what the former ace needs to turn his season around.

The conclusion

At the end of the day, this was a good trade for Oakland. Anyone who knows the history of A’s GM Billy Beane knows he has a proclivity for adding value at a low cost. This deal is no different.

According to recent rankings, Smith was the No.13 prospect in the Athletics’ farm system. Harris was No. 19.

Mike Minor is set to enter free agency at the end of the season. So he should be considered nothing more than a rental. However, he could prove to be a major difference-maker during his time in the Bay Area.

The A’s have a reputation for helping pitchers achieve new heights during their time in Oakland. Whether it be Barry Zito, Sonny Gray, Rich Harden, or Trevor Cahill the team seems to be able to bring out a surge in talent.

At worst, the Athletics have added a back-end rotation player or lefty specialist out of the bullpen when rotations shorten during the postseason. At best, they’ll have a difference-making starter.