Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas is now the best player available at his position after the Cincinnati Reds dealt Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners in a blockbuster recently.
With the MLB trade deadline quickly approaching, rumors regarding a potential landing spot for the A’s ace have ramped up a ton.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the sweepstakes for Montas is down to three teams. That includes the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals.
This is going to be a rather interesting story to watch unfold until the deadline passes Tuesday evening. Given what Seattle yielded to pry Castillo from Cincinnati, any package for Montas will have be rather large. That’s especially true with him under team control for next season while coming in cheap this year.
- Frankie Montas contract: 1 year, $5.03 million; arbitration eligible in 2023, free agent in 2024
Remember, Seattle gave up three of its top-five prospects to acquire Castillo from Cincinnati. Montas, 29, could bring back the same type of value ahead of the deadline.
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When looking at the three teams now out in front when it comes to the sweepstakes, it’s not difficult to figure out who might be headed back to Oakland in a blockbuster.
New York Yankees
New York pushed back against including No. 1 prospect Anthony Volpe in a trade for Castillo. There’s no reason to believe that general manager Brian Cashman would offer him up for Montas.
- Frankie Montas stats (2022): 4-9 record, 3.18 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 109 strikeouts, 104.2 innings
Instead, any deal would likely be centered around No. 2 prospect and fellow shortstop Oswald Peraza. Oakland is also said to be interested in acquiring Triple-A pitcher Ken Waldichuk in a potential Montas trade. These would likely be the two headliners heading back to Northern California.
Related: Updated MLB trade rumors
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto and Oakland have a history of doing deals. Most recently, that included the off-season deal in which Matt Chapman headed to Canada. However, things are a bit more complicated on this front given the Blue Jays’ farm system ranks 21st, according to MLB.com.
Considered the seventh-best prospect in the sport, catcher Gabriel Moreno would likely be off the board. Oakland also has a young catcher in Shea Langeliers who should be called up to the Majors soon. Rather, a package surrounding shortstop Orelvis Martinez (Blue Jays No. 2 prospect) and pitcher Ricky Tiedemann could get it done. Former top prospect Cavan Biggio could also make sense as part of said package.
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis’ interest in Washington Nationals star Juan Soto complicates things. In a vacuum, the A’s would be demanding the same type of top-end prospects in return for Montas. If the second-place Cards figure that it’s a long shot to acquire Soto, they could turn their attention to Oakland’s ace.
In this scenario, second baseman Nolan Gorman would likely headline the package heading back to Oakland. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if No. 2 prospect, left-handed starter Matthew Liberatore, was involved.
As it stands, Oakland is negotiating from a position of advantage here. With Castillo off the board, Frankie Montas is clearly the No. 1 pitcher available. He’s been tremendous over the past two seasons and is under team control through 2023.
The expectation here is that these A’s will acquire a huge bounty for Montas. In turn, a contending team would be adding a capable No. 2 starter for the stretch run and the playoffs.