The MLB trade deadline is approaching and Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas is the most coveted arm this summer. As the A’s continue their rebuild and payroll teardown, the ultra-talented righty will almost certainly be on a new team in July.
Montas isn’t on the ace-tier level of pitchers we saw become available last summer. However, the 29-year-old is appealing for other reasons. Under contract through the 2023 season, multiple MLB teams view Montas as a No. 2 starter who can pitch in October and offers long-term upside.
- Frankie Montas stats (2022): 3.21 ERA,1.08 WHIP, .222 BAA, 13$ SwStr rate in 89.2 innings
The 6-foot-2 hurler is the only arm left from a once-dominant rotation. Shopped around the league during the winter, it’s only a matter of time before the A’s move their top starter.
Related: New York Yankees to ‘make a run’ at Frankie Montas
With that in mind, let’s examine the best landing spots and what a Frankie Montas trade might cost.
Frankie Montas traded to the New York Mets
We’ve highlighted the fit between Montas and the New York Mets previously. Oakland already made a splashy trade with the Mets in 2022, dealing Chris Bassitt for prospects. With extensive knowledge of the Mets’ farm system and a solid relationship to New York’s front office, the teams could make something happen once again.
New York will still need pitching when Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom return. Look at the history of the Mets’ starters. deGrom, Scherzer, Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco are durability risks. One way to diminish the chances of a major arm injury is by deploying a six-man rotation.
A deal likely wouldn’t happen until late July, after the Mets’ Cy Young Award winners are back. It would create a six-man rotation with Montas lined up behind Scherzer and deGrom. After that, New York could deploy Chris Bassitt as the best fourth starter in baseball with Carrasco and Walker as back-end starters.
St. Louis Cardinals add much-needed rotation help
Even before the Jack Flaherty injury, the St. Louis Cardinals rotation needed help. Since May 15, per FanGraphs, the Cardinals’ starters rank 14th in ERA (4.11). While that is tolerable, the standard is a lot higher if St. Louis wants to win a World Series title.
- St. Louis Cardinals trade: Masyn Winn, Lars Nootbar, Zack Thompson
- Oakland Athletics trade: Frankie Montas
In this scenario, the Cardinals must part with one of their top prospects. Masyn Winn is showing an impressive hit tool with numbers in the minors that will further inflate his ranking on prospect lists. He’s likely a fringe top-60 prospect in baseball, good enough to be a centerpiece in a deal. Paired with MLB-ready players in Nootbar and Thompson, the Athletics would certainly be intrigued.
From the Cardinals’ perspective, this obviously allows them to keep the likes of Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore. Immediately after the trade, St. Louis could also approach Montas about a possible contract extension.
There’s no denying the stuff he brings to the table. Across his last 176.2 innings, Montas boasts a 2.70 ERA with a 2.24 Win Probability Added and a 20.3% K-BB rate. There is also enough evidence to suggest the pitching coaches in St. Louis, paired with the defense, could get even better results out of Montas.
San Francisco Giants acquire Frankie Montas
Trades between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s are certainly rare, but they do happen. Frankly, the Athletics’ ownership won’t care where Montas lands as long as it trims payroll and lands young talent under team control for multiple seasons.
San Francisco must add starting pitching this summer. From May 15 to the end of June, the Giants’ rotation ranked 19th in ERA (4.48). Keep in mind, that number would be far worse if not for front-line starters Logan Webb (2.68 ERA) and Carlos Rodón (3.40 ERA). With the MLB postseason race tighter than ever this year, the Giants must find difference-makers everywhere.
- San Francisco Giants trade: Heliot Ramos, Casey Schmitt, Will Bednar
- Oakland Athletics trade: Frankie Montas
Oakland can ask for top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison, but that won’t go anywhere. Instead, the Giants could move elsewhere in their farm system. Heliot Ramos is still a top-100 prospect and he’s MLB-ready, offering upside as an above-average player with the bat. While he’s the headliner in this deal, Casey Schmitt – 12 home runs and a .887 OPS at High-A – is a rising bat in the system.
Much like the Cardinals, San Francisco could explore a contract extension with Montas. Even if he isn’t interested, Montas would still be the No.2 starter in the rotation. We also think there is room for him to improve, especially with an organization that is among the best in the majors at helping acquired pitchers improve.