Oakland starter Paul Blackburn would be an ideal trade target for the Cleveland Guardians

The Cleveland Guardians should be looking outside the organization for starting pitching help, and Oakland A's starter Paul Blackburn would be a good place to start.
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

It's abundantly clear the Cleveland Guardians will need starting pitching help at some point if they're going to make it through this long season and even think about a potential playoff run.

Injuries to Shane Bieber and Gavin Williams - though he'll be back soon - aside, the guys in the rotation now are a bit of a mixed bag. It's hard to imagine Carlos Carrasco and Triston McKenzie lasting the whole year, and there have been some sophomore growing pains for both Logan Allen and Tanner Bibee.

The Guardians will no doubt be able to utilize Ben Lively and Xzavion Curry, along with a couple minor-league arms as the season progresses, but that's a starting rotation - as currently constructed - that's walking a real tightrope.

So at some point, if they aren't already, the Guardians will need to look outside the organization for some additional starting depth. So why not look to Oakland, who the Guardians just finished dominating in their season series?

Looking at Paul Blackburn as a Potential Cleveland Trade Target

Blackburn, 30, is having a terrific start to the season, maintaining a microscopic 1.08 ERA through his first four starts. And though his career stats won't jump out at you - he has a career 4.64 ERA and 86 ERA+ - he can eat up innings, making 20 or more starts each of the past two seasons. And in the past two years, he's pitched to a very serviceable 4.35 ERA, 4.09 FIP, and 90 ERA+.

Even though he's under team control through next year, it likely wouldn't take a king's ransom to acquire Blackburn, either (have you seen what the A's got in return for the likes of Sean Murphy and Matt Olson?). He's pitching like he wants his second All-Star bid, and he's the ideal depth arm the Guardians need, as they work to navigate a treacherous path forward for their starting pitchers.

The vibes are immaculate with this team for the time being, but it's only April. Things can change on a dime, and Cleveland will need all the pitching help it can get this season. Blackburn can be that exact type of guy at a reasonable cost.