The Oakland A’s have a decision to make about Paul Blackburn.
He had been the perfect depth piece for the A’s, spending parts of five seasons in the majors while typically serving as minor league depth. Nothing about his time in the majors had indicated that he would be anything beyond that, just an option at the end of the 40 man roster to be called upon as needed.
Oakland A’s have interesting decision to make with Paul Blackburn
Then the 2022 season began. The A’s fire sale, and refusal to sign anything close to a viable major league option for the rotation, meant that Blackburn would get his chance. He has taken that opportunity and run with it, posting a 4-0 record with a 1.67 ERA and a 0.903 WHiP over his 37.2 innings, striking out 29 batters with just five walks.
That performance also leads to an interesting question for the A’s. They may now need to determine whether or not the 28 year old Blackburn is going to be a part of their future core or if they should trade him now as his value may never be higher.
The problem is that Blackburn also fits the A’s projected window as to when they expect to return to relevancy. He still has four years of team control left and is entering arbitration after this season. Although the A’s are looking to slash payroll everywhere possible, he will not be all too expensive next year.
At this point, it does not make sense for the A’s to trade Blackburn. They may have stumbled upon a solid arm that they can build around, one that will be a piece in the middle of the rotation. However, if the A’s are still rebuilding in another year or two, it will be time to revisit this conversation.
Paul Blackburn would be an interesting trade chip for the Oakland A’s. However, the time has not yet come to explore that avenue.