Tigers trade Fiers to A’s, for real this time

By Blake Froling

It’s officially official this time. 

A week after a deadline deal with the Oakland Athletics fell through, the Detroit Tigers sent pitcher Mike Fiers to the A’s for cash considerations or two players to be named later, according to the team.

In his first season with the Tigers, Fiers is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA and 87 strikeouts over 119 innings pitched. He’s been at the top of his game lately, posting a 2.10 ERA over his last six starts.

Fiers, 33, exited his last start against the Cincinnati Reds after two innings when he was struck on the shin by a line drive. X-rays were negative and he isn’t expected to miss any time. 

Baseball-Reference has his wins above replacement at 3.1, tops on the team, while Fangraphs has Fiers much lower at 1.2, which is fourth among Tigers starting pitchers. Based on which site you trust more, Fiers is either a quality middle of the rotation starter or a veteran that will eat some innings without too much damage. 

The Tigers signed Fiers in the offseason to a one-year, $6 million dollar deal after he spent two and a half seasons with the Houston Astros, where he owned a 4.59 ERA. 

Oakland is one of the hottest teams in baseball right now after winning six games in a row. They’re 2.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot and could use additional pitching depth behind Sean Manaea and Trevor Cahill. As for Fiers, he doesn’t have to go very far since the Tigers are in Anaheim right now. 

Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Keep an eye on these starting pitchers as deadline nears

Buster Olney, ESPN Senior Writer

Small sample size carries weight in July in a way it does not the rest of the baseball season, as teams get inspired — or spooked — by a couple of really good or really bad games leading up to the trade deadline.

An evaluator told a story recently about how one of his players in the midst of a good season struggled one day, and the phone calls from other teams with expressions of trade interest stopped. As if someone had turned off a light switch.

Everybody is looking to land the right player at the exact right time, and there could be no better example of this than in the market for starting pitching, which is generally regarded by executives as thin, lacking in high-end options.

Six weeks ago, Toronto’s J.A. Happ might have been the ranked near the top of this crop, but he has a 9.75 ERA in his past three starts, allowing 19 hits, eight walks and four homers in 12 innings, and scouts’ enthusiasm for him has waned — particularly as they try to project how he might do against playoff teams down the stretch or in October. On the other hand, the power stuff of the Rays’ Nathan Eovaldi and his three great performances from June 26 to July 8 — in which he allowed two earned runs and punched out 23 hitters in 19 innings — probably guarantees a small army of scouts will follow him for the rest of this month, in case he turns out to be the best option available. Matt Harvey was awful in 2017 and at the outset of 2018, and in 12 starts with the Reds, he has thrown much better, with only 15 walks in 64⅓ innings and a 3.64 ERA.

The Red Sox, Brewers, Yankees, Cubs, Mariners, Braves and Phillies are among the contenders who could be sifting through the high volume of rotation trade options, and unless the Mets decide to earnestly dangle Jacob deGrom, there may not be an elite starting pitcher available. They are all sifting through the same alternatives.

J.A. Happ, Blue Jays: He’ll get two more opportunities against bad teams to boost his trade value — on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, and five days later against the White Sox.

Marco Estrada, Blue Jays: Because of hip trouble, he has pitched one-third of an inning this month, but he’ll return to the mound against the Twins on Monday and have a couple of starts before the trade deadline. Estrada, 35, has a 4.72 ERA. He’s making $13 million this season.

Nathan Eovaldi, Rays: His average fastball velocity is 97.3 mph this season, and he’s getting a ton of missed swings — 10.6 percent for the year is a career high for the right-hander. He has the kind of raw stuff that might enable him to beat a good lineup on a good day. But Eovaldi is in his first summer after Tommy John surgery, and rival evaluators know acquiring him might carry risk because of the health unknowns — how he’ll hold up through the summer. The Minnesota Twins whacked him around for nine hits and eight runs in 2⅔ innings in his last start July 13, and he is lined up to make two more starts before the deadline — Friday against the Marlins, and Wednesday versus the Yankees. Solid outings could really boost interest in him.

If he doesn’t pitch well and fuels the perception he might simply need more time to rebuild, the Rays could consider the option of extending a one-year qualifying offer this fall, for about $18 million, to set themselves up either for draft pick compensation or holding Eovaldi on a low-risk deal.

James Shields, White Sox: The right-hander is 4-10 with a 4.43 ERA, with unusual home/road splits — a 3.51 ERA in 13 home starts, and a 6.14 ERA on the road. In two starts against the Astros, he allowed 18 hits and 15 runs in 11 innings.

Lance Lynn, Twins: Minnesota opens the second half 7 ½ games behind the Indians in the AL Central, and with one bad week, they could become sellers. Lynn has had an inconsistent season, as his ERA month-to-month demonstrates:

April: 8.37

May: 3.76

June: 2.83

July: 7.82

The 31-year-old Lynn is owed $4 million over the last two months of the season, and he could be an option for some team looking for an experienced starter for depth.

Matt Harvey, Reds: He has pitched effectively against contenders since joining Cincinnati, beating the Cubs, Braves, Brewers and Cardinals, and in his past five starts, he has a 1.86 ERA, while generating more ground balls.

Kyle Gibson, Twins: He has a 3.42 ERA in 19 starts, and while other clubs say he’s not being pushed in the trade market by Minnesota, rival executives are watching him as a possible option if the Twins become sellers. Gibson will be eligible for free agency after 2019.

Jake Odorizzi, Twins: He’s making $6.3 million this season, and has a 4.54 ERA.

Francisco Liriano, Tigers: The 34-year-old lefty has a 4.67 ERA, and it may be that some teams will have more interest in him as bullpen depth, because he has held left-handed hitters to five hits in 57 at-bats (.088). Liriano is making $4 million this season.

Zack Wheeler, Mets: He’s eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, and this year has a 4.44 ERA in 107⅓ innings.

Mike Fiers, Tigers: Over his past nine starts, he has pitched well, with a 2.75 ERA, including 5⅔ good innings against the Yankees and decent outings against the Astros and Indians. With a salary of $6 million, and under team control in 2019, he is likely one of the most attractive trade alternatives right now.

Tyson Ross, Padres: The right-hander has a daunting injury history, and has had two rough starts this month, surrendering 15 runs in seven innings against the Pirates and Diamondbacks. However, he pitched well against the Dodgers on July 12, allowing two runs in 6⅓ innings, and there’s another reason he might be really attractive to contenders — he’s making a base salary of only $1.75 million.

Chris Archer, Rays: His velocity has been down, and his overall numbers have been down. But his contract is so team friendly — $6.4 million this year, $7.7 million for next year, with team options for 2020 ($9 million) and 2021 ($11 million) — a contender might be inspired to make a bid for the former All-Star. But it still seems unlikely another team would meet Tampa Bay’s high asking price.

Ivan Nova, Pirates: He has a 4.38 ERA in 18 starts and 102⅔ innings. He’s making $9.167 million this year, and will make $9.167 million next year, which might make him less attractive than some of the other names on this list.

Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

http://www.espn.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post/_/id/18744/olney-keep-an-eye-on-these-starting-pitchers-as-deadline-nears

Tigers pitcher Fiers renews feud with Stanton, calls him ‘childish’ for HR celebration

ESPN News Services

Giancarlo Stanton clearly wasn’t happy with being hit again by Mike Fiers, who said that the Yankees slugger’s reaction to their latest spat was “childish.”

Fiers plunked Stanton on the left forearm in the third inning of the Tigers‘ 4-2 victory Monday over the Yankees, leading to a brief verbal exchange between the Detroit pitcher and the reigning National League MVP.

In September 2014, Fiers was pitching for the Brewers when he hit Stanton in the face with a pitch, causing serious injuries to the then-Marlins star.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

“He wasn’t trying to hit me [tonight], but still, with the history, don’t hit me,” Stanton said Monday. “That doesn’t eliminate pitching [inside] — this is the major leagues — but either get it over the plate or make sure it doesn’t hit me.”

Stanton exacted some revenge in the sixth inning by blasting a 456-foot home run off Fiers, emphatically flipping his bat and then pointing his finger at the right-hander as he crossed home plate.

“I understand that he’s pissed, but the way he handled it was kind of childish,” Fiers said. “He’s going to act how he’s going to act, but it kind of shows his character.

“Getting his revenge and throwing his bat and pointing? That’s not part of this game. Yeah, you’re supposed to have fun, but I think that’s kind of childish.”

Stanton has worn a protective guard over his left cheek/jaw area ever since being hit in the face by Fiers’ 88 mph fastball on Sept. 11, 2014. He suffered season-ending facial fractures and also needed to undergo multiple dental procedures.

Stanton yelled at Fiers after being hit in the arm Monday but was restrained by Tigers catcher James McCann as he headed toward first base. He said he did not intend to start a fight with Fiers but emphasized that his reaction was warranted because of their history.

“I’m not trying to stir this up,” Stanton said. “It is what it is obviously. When anything like that happens and another ball like that [hits you] … no matter how many years it is, you’re not going to be happy. I’m not going to just walk to first and everything is going to be OK.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone and Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire both understood Stanton’s reaction but agreed that Fiers wasn’t intentionally throwing at the four-time All-Star.

“I think it’s a case of Giancarlo getting a serious injury and then getting hit,” Boone said. “I think just a little frustration.”

“I can tell you that Mike Fiers was not trying to hit him and load the bases,” Gardenhire said. “I also understand what Stanton’s talking about. He’s been hit — they have a history. I get it. But there was nothing there. It’s baseball.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/23701952/giancarlo-stanton-renews-feud-detroit-tigers-pitcher-mike-fiers-calls-new-york-yankees-slugger-childish