After working his way up to the Cubs' Double-A affiliate, Paul Blackburn was traded to the Mariners as part of the package for Mike Montgomery. The big knock on Blackburn is his inability to miss bats, as he registered just a 6.2 K/9 in 2016 (which is identical to his career mark). However, he's made up for the lack of swing and miss to a large extent by posting consistently low walk rates and keeping the ball on the ground. At the end of the 2016 season, the Mariners traded Blackburn to the A's for Danny Valencia and subsequently added him to their 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft. Although the Bay Area native has only seen Double-A action so far, his control may be earn him a call up to the big leagues if the A's notorious starting pitching struggles continue.
Blackburn was assigned to minor-league camp Monday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Blackburn earned a promotion to the 40-man roster in November and impressed manager Bob Melvin with his arsenal, but a five-run outing in Cactus League play Friday essentially killed any chance he had at claiming an Opening Day spot. The 23-year-old could resurface with the big club as a spot starter or long man out of the bullpen later in the season, but it looks like he'll begin his 2017 campaign in a rotation role at either the Double-A or Triple-A level.
Blackburn was added to the A's 40-man roster Friday. The 22-year-old had to be added for Rule 5 protection. He was traded from Seattle to Oakland last week in exchange for Danny Valencia -- marking the second time Blackburn was traded in less than a four-month span. The results were strong for Blackburn at the Double-A level in 2016 (3.27 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), but he doesn't have dominant stuff as evidenced by his career 6.2 K/9 in the minors.
Blackburn was traded to the A's on Saturday in exchange for Danny Valencia, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. Acquired by Seattle in the Mike Montgomery trade this summer (along with Dan Vogelbach), Blackburn posted a 3.54 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 27:9 K:BB in 40.2 innings with the Mariners' Double-A Jackson affiliate. The right-hander may not have a true plus offering, but his fastball, curveball and changeup are all serviceable pitches. He could be a rotation option for the A's in the second half of 2017.
Blackburn, whom the Mariners acquired Wednesday from the Cubs, could be in the Seattle rotation as early as next season, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. General Manager Jerry Dipoto said Blackburn projects as a No. 4 starter. "Three average-to-better pitches, and he throws strikes," Dipoto said. "He's having an all-star season in the Southern League, and we feel he projects as a potential 2017 ETA in the second half in the big leagues." Blackburn, the 56th overall pick in the 2012 draft, had a 3.17 ERA this season in 16 starts at Double-A Tennessee.
Blackburn and Dan Vogelbach were traded from the Cubs to the Mariners on Wednesday in exchange for Mike Montgomery and Jordan Pries, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. While Blackburn hasn't displayed big swing-and-miss stuff in the minors (just 72 strikeouts in 102.1 innings), he's managed to post a sub-3.50 in every level of his minor league climb thus far. He's spent all of 2016 with Double-A Tennessee, and could be bound for the same level with the Mariners.
Last 7 Games