One of the Oakland A’s recent cuts is staying in the organization after all.
Pitcher Paul Blackburn, who had been designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and will remain with the team as a non-roster invitee in spring training camp, reports insider Martin Gallegos. Blackburn was DFA’d on Tuesday to make room on the 40-man roster for a new free agent.
The right-handed starter appeared in the majors for the A’s in each of the last four seasons for around 100 innings total, beginning with a strong rookie campaign in 2017. However, he’s been knocked around in his most recent trials in the bigs, preventing him from sticking in MLB long-term, and some injuries have stalled him along the way. Still, he’s remained firmly on the depth chart and continued getting chances in Oakland when openings arise.
Blackburn is out of options, and there was no way he was going to make the Opening Day roster, so his removal from the 40-man was inevitable. But this result means not much changes for him, as he’ll still participate in A’s spring camp and then presumably pitch for Triple-A Las Vegas like he was always ticketed to do. The only difference is that if the A’s want to call him up again this summer, they’ll first have to make another move to re-add him to the 40-man roster, which does complicate his path back to the majors.
This is not a surprise. In fact, I even suggested this is how it might go in the DFA news post.
It makes sense. The A’s actions over the years make clear that they like Blackburn more than his stats would suggest, and from his perspective this team has given him lots of opportunity. And, although the Heritage High School (Brentwood) alum grew up a Giants fan, he’s a local in terms of Oakland, East Bay, Northern California terms.
You can never have enough pitching depth, and keeping Blackburn costs nothing. He’s still only 27 years old, and he’s got a bit of MLB experience, so he’s a fine candidate for the Triple-A rotation and the larger A’s depth chart.