Oakland A's injury update delivers tough news on Yankees trade target, old friend

A brutal double whammy.
Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

If the New York Yankees would still like to add a (non-Gerrit Cole) starting pitcher at the 2024 MLB trade deadline, they might be down to Option C.

The Miami Marlins are extremely open for business, already shipping Luis Arraez to the San Diego Padres months ahead of schedule. That would make left-hander Jesús Luzardo the belle of the trade deadline ball ... if he wasn't currently sporting a 5.97 ERA in six starts after shaking off an injury. He didn't look so hot in person at Yankee Stadium, either.

The Oakland A's have been surprisingly frisky in the early going, holding valiantly on to third place ahead of the Houston Astros for at least a few more days. That hasn't halted them from floating Mason Miller trade trial balloons, though. All systems are go for Oakland's (Sacramento's? Vegas'?) deadline fire sale, making the beguiling Paul Blackburn an intriguing trade option for a team looking, at the very least, for length.

Unfortunately, Blackburn has been unsteady lately, too, watching his ERA balloon from 1.08 to 4.11 in a four-start span. As A's fans found out on Monday, there was a reason for the regression: a metatarsal stress reaction, which the righty had apparently been shrugging off since spring training. Recently, it became too much to bear.

Oakland A's Paul Blackburn injury timeline revealed, and it won't help Yankees make a decision

Two weeks of a walking boot, feeding into reevaluation ... yeah, that'll place him directly on the Frankie Montas timeline of, "Hmm, are we sure we believe them when they tell us he's healthy?"

If the Yankees didn't learn a difficult lesson from their last time making a trade deadline deal with Oakland's unscrupulous (and disconnected) leadership, they certainly should this time, before it's too late.

And speaking of that last deal, when they exchanged several top prospects for Montas, it appears as if the A's hit rate sunk a bit lower this week. While left-hander JP Sears has evolved into a nasty option (as the April 2024 Yankees can attest), the higher-ceiling pitcher the Yankees sent Oakland's way, herky-jerky left-hander Ken Waldichuk, has unfortunately been forced to battle some fairly severe consequences. After being held out of early action in 2024, word came down on Monday that Waldichuk will have his elbow repaired, per the recommendation of Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Rarely does that consult go well (that sound you hear is Cole thanking his lucky stars once again).

Waldichuk may still have a bright future ahead of him, and one that is more in line with his metrics (21% strikeout rate, 10% walk rate and 39% ground ball rate) than his results (5.28 career ERA, 1.491 career WHIP). Elbow surgeries, of course, are more commonplace than ever in today's (supremely messed up!) game.

But you still hate to see any young pitcher succumb to a forcible 1.5-year vacation, least of all an old friend. In more ways than one, Oakland's Monday news drop affected the New York Yankees' leadership corps.