Texas Rangers starting pitcher Mike Minor is being traded to the Oakland Athletics, becoming the latest starter to be dealt with only hours remaining before the MLB trade deadline.
Minor, whose name was floated heavily before the trade deadline in 2019, will stay in the AL West and leave Texas in the middle of a disappointing season for one of MLB’s top contenders.
Oakland Athletics acquire pitcher Mike Minor
Over the weekend, reports emerged that the Athletics were in the market for starting pitching. While the rotation was one of the team’s strengths when the season began, injuries and poor performances have caused it to become a bit of a question mark.
Franke Montas, who dominated in 2019 with a 2.63 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 96 innings, has run into trouble this year. The 27-year-old owns a 6.06 ERA and has allowed 33 hits with 18 walks across 32.2 innings. Meanwhile, Chris Bassitt holds a 5.95 ERA in his last four starts.
The trade, first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, will send two prospects to Texas. Both prospects will be named at a later date because they aren’t on Oakland’s 60-man roster, leading to a unique rule this season that is leading to more trades involving PTBNL.
Texas certainly would have been better off trading Minor before the deadline in 2019. At that time, he was an All-Star pitcher with 1.5 seasons of contract control and generating a lot of interest. By moving him a year later, with the veteran set to hit free agency in a few months, the Rangers lost out on a greater return.
With only a few hours remaining before the deadline, set for 4 p.m. EST, Texas will likely be dealing its ace Lance Lynn for a greater return.
Mike Minor’s stats, impact on Athletics’ rotation and World Series hopes
The Athletics are certainly buying low on Minor, a move that could deliver exciting rewards. Entering Monday, the 32-year-old southpaw holds a 5.60 ERA with 35 hits allowed in 35.1 innings. However, the Athletics are hoping he could return to the form we saw in 2019.
Minor earned an All-Star selection last summer after dominating in the first half of the season with a 2.54 ERA and an impressive .218/.293/.335 slash line allowed to opposing hitters. But he cooled off after the break, posting a 4.93 ERA with a .274 batting average in 91.1 innings during the second half.
Across his final eight starts last season, Minor held a 6.92 K/9 and struck out 17.7% of batters faced, with a 1.43 WHIP and 10 home runs allowed in 53.1 innings. In his first 35.1 innings of the 2020 season, Minor holds a 8.92 K/9 with a 22.6% strikeout rate, a 1.36 WHIP and seven home runs allowed.
It’s unlikely we see Minor return to the All-Star form that Texas enjoyed early in 2019. However, he’s better than the 5/60 ERA he currently carries. He also proved it in his last start, throwing six shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While this move isn’t as big as the blockbuster trade involving Mike Clevinger, it’s a boost for Oakland. Minor will enjoy having a great defense and team behind him, which should help him be a solid mid-rotation starter.