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Frankie Montas trade scenarios: 3 best fits for Oakland Athletics’ starter

Robbie Stratakos
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics continue to purge their roster, and chances are Frankie Montas’ departure is on the horizon. Oakland has traded Chris Bassitt, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman since the MLB lockout ended.

Montas, 28, has found a great deal of success as a starting pitcher. He logs strikeouts at a high rate, registers fastballs in the high 90s and maintains a consistent, four-pitch arsenal (sinker, four seamer, split-fingered fastball and slider). He’s a top-of-the-rotation starter who adds credibility to any MLB pitching staff.

Here are three ideal trade destinations for Frankie Montas.

Related: Updated MLB trade rumors

3. Detroit Tigers bypass pitching growth with Frankie Montas trade

frank montas trade scenarios
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers made tangible progress in a 77-win season and have made a pair of impact signings this offseason in Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez. Acquiring Montas makes them a dark horse American League playoff team.

Starting pitching was the featured part of the 2021 Tigers. Casey Mize had an encouraging season. Tyler Alexander and Tarik Skubal finished off hitters and flashed potential. Rodriguez adds a stabilizing veteran force to the Tigers’ rotation. Montas would provide the same but more importantly could be their ace.

Furthermore, it’s unrealistic for the Tigers to expect all of their young starters to pan out, which includes Spencer Turnbull recovering from Tommy John surgery. Montas’ arrival helps bypass the growth of an arm or two, as he’s accustomed to performing at a high level in the American League.

  • Frankie Montas stats (2021): 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 207 strikeouts across 187.0 innings (32 starts)

Montas and Rodriguez pitching to their career tendencies and two of Mize, Alexander and Skubal progressing gives the Tigers a sturdy rotation with upside. No one in that rotation is older than 28. Detroit’s offense is a year behind its rotation, as top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene haven’t yet reached the big leagues, which means the rotation has to carry the load. Montas helps that effort.

All that said, the Tigers may prefer to develop their young arms and preserve prospect capital, perhaps waiting to see if they’re a playoff contender before making a bold trade (e.g. a Montas trade).

2. Frankie Montas lifts the Los Angeles Angels’ starting rotation

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitching continues to be an issue for the Angels, which they’ve partially addressed by giving Noah Syndergaard a one-year, $21 million deal. Simultaneously, the AL West has a handful of teams making substantial moves, and the Angels are likely better than at-most two teams in their division. Trading for Montas narrows the gap.

Montas is a savvy and reliable starting pitcher. The Angels need more of that, as opposed to holding out hope that their starters will turn a corner. Griffin Canning and Jaime Barria have been inconsistent. While Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez showed promise last season, they’re not a given to build on their success. Plus, Syndergaard and Shohei Ohtani have deep-rooted injury issues.

The more, the merrier for the Angels on the pitching front. They’ve bolstered their bullpen by re-signing/signing Raisel Iglesias and Aaron Loup. Montas’ arrival gives the Angels a well-rounded pitching staff. He’s entering his prime and coming off his best season as a starter.

While health is a pressing matter for the Angels on the hill (Syndergaard and Ohtani) and at the plate (Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon), they have to at least objectively improve their roster under the mindset that they’re not going to be held back by injuries. That means trading a top prospect for a pitcher like Montas.

The factor that could stop the Angels from acquiring Montas, though, is them wanting to see if a healthy Syndergaard can move the needle.

1. Frankie Montas to the Kansas City Royals

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Bringing Zack Greinke home certainly improves the Royals’ rotation, but it also doesn’t solve it. Frankly, trading for Montas wouldn’t solve it, either, but it would be a much-needed step in the right direction.

Manager Mike Matheny doesn’t have an ace. Brad Keller, Kris Bubic and Brady Singer have all had their moments but been unable to sustain success. Having someone like Montas alongside Greinke and these young starters would be a godsend.

For starters, Montas would be the Royals’ opening day starter. He gives them a proven commodity who’s still relatively young. His mere presence gives the Royals several more victories, as starting pitching has failed to give its offense a chance to hit their way to victory. Kansas City has some compelling everyday players like Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Nicky Lopez and Andrew Benintendi.

The Royals’ rebuild is on life support. They’ve struggled mightily to develop young pitchers, and their offense is collectively respectable but little more. Montas and Greinke would add a sense of competency to their pitching staff while serving as veteran mentors for young arms that need direction.

Trading for Montas is the type of transaction the Royals need to pursue.