5 starting pitchers the Cleveland Guardians should target before the trade deadline

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages
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1. Paul Blackburn - Oakland Athletics

This was an idea floated around in late April and is still worth exploring. The Oakland Athleticsare destinedto be one of the teams who will trade away players on expiring contracts, and Paul Blackburn would be someone who fits that description. Blackburn has a 4.11 ERA and 1.152 WHIP in eight starts for Oakland this season. These numbers are slightly better than averages dating back to 2021 (4.55 ERA, 1.386 WHIP).

Even though Blackburn is not an Ace or a star-caliber pitcher that would increase the rotation's ceiling, that does not mean he would not be a valuable acquisition for the Guardians. Blackburn is a solid arm to have in a rotation that would help solidify and stabilize the rotation's floor, preventing any sort of freefall should may occur if another starter is injured or regression is experienced.

The only real obstacle preventing an acquisition of Blackburn at this time and making it quite risky when and if it could happen is the fact that he is currently on the injured list with a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. It was previously reported that he is going to need more than the minimum amount of time on the IL due to the nature of this injury. With that being said, if Blackburn is able to come back and pitch at a similar rate to what he did before the injury, the Guardians should give Oakland a call to see if they can acquire his services.