On Saturday, the Oakland Athletics announced that they acquired left-handed relief pitcher Jake Diekman from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for two prospects, right-handed pitcher Ismael Aquino and outfielder Dairon Blanco.

Diekman, 32, is owed $700,000 for the remainder of this season after he signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract with the Royals in the offseason as a free agent. He also has a $5.75 million mutual option on his deal for 2020. The lefty is walking more batters than a team would want, but he is striking out more batters (13.6 K per 9 IP) than he ever has in his eight-year long career. 

With the addition of Diekman, the A’s will strengthen their already dominant and hard-throwing bullpen. As of Saturday, the A’s relievers combined ERA of 3.94 ranked seventh in all of baseball. Diekman will join Blake Treinen, Liam Hendriks and Lou Trivino as the key arms in the bullpen.

Entering Saturday, Oakland (58-47) is tied with the Red Sox for the final AL wild card spot, just a half-game behind the Rays. The A’s will look to bounce back from a few tough losses in series against AL juggernauts, the Twins and Astros, as they face the Rangers at home on Saturday (GameTracker).

This is the second trade between the A’s and Royals before this year’s only deadline of July 31. On July 14, the A’s acquired veteran starter Homer Bailey from the Royals for infielder Kevin Merrell.

As The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal notes, the Athletics may not be done with their trade deadline acquisitions. Rosenthal reports that the A’s have also explored adding another starter, with the MetsZack Wheeler and the RedsTanner Roark among Oakland’s targets. For all the latest rumors leading up to MLB‘s trade deadline, be sure to follow our regularly updated trade deadline rumors post, as well as our trade deadline tracker.

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