Paul Blackburn – underrated trade candidate?
The idea that Paul Blackburn would be a viable trade candidate would have been laughable two months ago.
Blackburn was getting a chance in the Oakland A’s rotation to start the 2022 season, but that was more of a matter of necessity. Someone needed to pitch, and his experience on the mound gave him that job. As he had ridden the rail between the majors and Triple-A for five years without exactly establishing himself, absolutely nothing could have been expected from him.
Oakland A’s have actual trade candidate in Paul Blackburn
Although it has been just two months into the season, Blackburn has already exceeded expectations. He has posted a 2.31 ERA and a 1.010 WHiP in his 66.1 innings entering Tuesday, striking out 47 batters with 15 walks. His strikeout numbers may not be impressive, but he has allowed just three homers on the year and has a 50.8% groundball rate, minimizing any of those concerns.
Blackburn’s success has made him an intriguing trade candidate. MLB Trade Rumors considers him the A’s second best trade chip behind only Frankie Montas. It is a remarkable turnaround for someone that likely would have gone through waivers unclaimed before the start of the season.
None of that means that the A’s will trade him. He has three years of team control left after this season, making it possible that they could consider him valuable enough to hold on to despite any possible offers. Likewise, teams may want to see more of a track record than two strong months before pulling the trigger on a deal, even if he has that much team control left.
This makes the next few weeks all the more interesting. If Blackburn continues to get outs and pitch well, those concerns may lessen bit by bit. He may not be an ace, but he could be a strong back of the rotation arm with plenty of team control that could be had at a relative bargain. But it all comes down to how he performs and if the A’s think he can improve his trade stock even more going forward.
The Oakland A’s would not have been able to give Paul Blackburn away before the start of the season. Now, he is their second best trade chip.