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Elephant Rumblings: Is Blackburn the A’s top trade candidate?

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Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

Anthony Franco at MLB Trade Rumors posted a list of the top 50 trade candidates ahead of the August 1 deadline. Just one Athletic is included: Paul Blackburn at number 16. Per Franco, an effort to balance trade value and the likelihood of being dealt was made in compiling the rankings.

Franco describes 29-year-old Blackburn as a dependable back-of-rotation starter when healthy, positing that last year’s lone A’s All-Star may be “the most valuable trade chip on a stripped down A’s roster.”

According to Baseball Trade Values, Blackburn has a median trade value of $6.4 million, the highest of any major leaguer in the organization with fewer than three years of team control left.

However, there are a few players with significantly higher valuations who are over 25 years old, including JP Sears ($15.3m), Brent Rooker ($13.1m), and Sam Moll ($11.4m).

27-year-old Sears has been making strides of late, and I’d probably want to see if he can break out over the next year and command a better return at some point.

28-year-old Rooker has demonstrated a high ceiling as a hitter, but I have a feeling he will settle in at a bit above average. I’d keep an ear open for solid offers on him while he has the gleam of an All-Star. Now that I’ve said that, the Dodgers or Braves will probably come calling and turn The Rook into a superstar.

Moll is 31 and unlikely to fit into the A’s next competitive window. Potential suitors should know what to expect from him: a solid bullpen workhorse. I might therefore deem The Doll the A’s “best trade chip” this summer. But you won’t need an 18 wheeler to pick up the return.

The A’s have a handful of depth pieces like Blackburn and Moll to offer for lottery tickets. I wouldn’t hate seeing the current roster—a team that seems to barely be finding its footing—kept relatively intact rather than made worse for minimal returns. Games Worth Watching are precious in these, perhaps the latter, days of Oakland A’s baseball.

Franco named Moll among “others to watch,” along with Seth Brown ($2m), Shintaro Fujinami (not listed), and Ryan Noda ($5.3m).

The A’s don’t have the assets to make any blockbuster deals, but surely they will be looking to make what moves they can. What do you think of Franco’s assessment? Who do you think should or will get dealt? What realistic targets do you think the A’s should go after?

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