MLB trade deadline: A's make big upgrades without mortgaging future

Ben Ross

The A's didn't make a huge splash before the MLB trade deadline, but they did take some important steps to solidify their shaky pitching staff.

Oakland added veteran starters, Tanner Roark and Homer Bailey, along with hard-throwing reliever Jake Diekman, and did so without giving up any top prospects.

Roark, in particular, should have a major impact in the A's rotation. The 32-year-old right-hander has a career record of 70-61 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in seven seasons. He commands five pitches well and should benefit from the Coliseum's extensive foul territory, not to mention the A's excellent defense behind him.

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Bailey has made three starts for Oakland since being acquired from Kansas City, with two of them going well. The 33-year-old right-hander gives the A's a decent fifth starter option, at least until Sean Manaea and/or Jesús Luzardo return from injury.

Diekman, 32, pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday night in his Oakland debut and figures to be a primary setup man in the bullpen. With Liam Hendriks and Yusmeiro Petit having great seasons and Blake Treinen starting to regain his form, the A's pen could be in better shape than we thought.

Of course, Oakland is also expecting pitching reinforcements from within the system. Manaea could return within the next week, while Luzardo may be an option come September. A.J. Puk appears to be nearing a call-up as well and would provide another great late-inning option out of the pen.

Most importantly, the A's were able to address their weaknesses without giving up any of their best prospects. The only top-10 prospect they lost was Class-A outfielder Jameson Hannah, ranked number eight in the system by MLB Pipeline. However, Oakland is extremely deep with outfield talent, and Hannah is replaceable in the organization. While he is a good contact hitter, the 21-year-old doesn't have much power potential.

[RELATED: Roark finds out about trade while at Arby's]

While Oakland's additions should give them a significant boost in the American League wild-card race, the AL West Division may be out of reach after Houston traded for six-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. The Astros lead the A's by eight games and appear well on their way to a third consecutive division title with their talented starting rotation of Greinke, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Wade Miley.

Still, the A's are in a strong position to reach the postseason for a second straight year and the future remains extremely bright.

MLB trade deadline: A's make big upgrades without mortgaging future originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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