1) Paul Blackburn, OAK
Long rumored as a potential trade candidate, the former All-Star would be a perfect target for the small-market Marlins. Blackburn, like Keller, is a former All-Star. Under the age of 30. And on a very team-friendly deal ($1.9 salary in 2024 and two years of arbitration remaining).
Also like Keller, he has been a super consistent source of quality innings in each of the past two seasons. In 2023 alone, Blackburn posted a 4.43 ERA and 104 strikeouts. All with a putrid on-field Oakland A's roster.
As the A's undergo a full rebuild, it makes little sense for them to retain a solid former All-Star. As such, it feels like a virtual lock that Blackburn is traded sooner rather than later.
And, unlike both Keller and Gilbert, one would expect his asking price to be reasonable. While both of the aforementioned players would likely carry an asking price of two valuable minor leaguers, Blackburn could cost a fraction of that cost.
All this begs the key question: Why would a postseason club like the Marlins target a lesser player like Blackburn over better talents like Keller and Gilbert?
Personally, I would strongly advocate that the club build off their surprise postseason run by trading for a lower-cost option like Blackburn, while also signing a similarly skilled free agent such as Jordan Montgomery, Marcus Stroman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Kenta Maeda, or Seth Lugo.
However, if the team is truly focused on penny-pinching (in terms of money spent), both Keller and Gilbert alliviate the pressure on the rotation while paying in the form of prospects rather than dollars.
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