A's acquire Homer Bailey from Kansas City as trade deadline nears

Blake SchusterYahoo Sports Contributor

The Oakland Athletics are six games back of the Houston Astros for the American League West crown and have a half-game lead for the second Wild Card — and they are going for it.

The A’s acquired starting pitcher Homer Bailey from Kansas City on Sunday, sending prospect Kevin Merrell to the Royals. Bailey is the second starting pitcher to get dealt in as many days after the Boston Red Sox added Andrew Cashner from Baltimore on Saturday.

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Bailey’s 4.80 ERA on the year gives him the highest mark in Oakland’s rotation, but he should benefit greatly from having the Athletics’ defense behind him as he goes from a team that’s allowed the seventh-most runs this season (478) to one that’s given up the ninth-fewest (407).

This may not be a move that strikes too much fear in fellow contenders, but it shows the market for starting pitchers is beginning to pick up as the July 31 trade deadline nears. In Bailey’s case, the Athletics don’t have much to lose as is. They’re already down one starter on the year due to Frankie Montas’ 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, and they’re on track to get a healthy Sean Manaea back for his season debut in the next few weeks.

Given that Bailey is on a one-year, league-minimum deal, the Athletics didn’t even need to overspend to add another arm.

In terms of Merrell, who Oakland drafted 33rd overall in 2017, MLB Pipeline ranked him as the 17th-best prospect in the A’s farm system with 30 power, 45 arm and 70 run (on a scale of 20-80).

Whether or not the trades of Cashner and Bailey begin a true run on pitching, there are still plenty of big names on the block — including Madison Bumgarner, Zach Wheeler and Marcus Stroman.

The Red Sox and Athletics may not be willing to overpay in a deal for any of those, but there are suitors out there. As the deadline begins to force teams into buying, some clubs may be wishing they had taken a shot at a low-risk, high-reward arm like Bailey.

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 04: Starter Homer Bailey #21 of the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/kansas-city/" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Royals">Kansas City Royals</a> throws against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 4, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 04: Starter Homer Bailey #21 of the Kansas City Royals throws against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 4, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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