Despite losing to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, the New York Yankees boast a MLB-best 28-10 record.
One of the primary reasons for New York’s success this season has been its starting pitching. A relative unknown heading into the 2022 season, Nestor Cortes has anchored one of the best rotations in the game. Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole round out a unit that boasts the best ERA in baseball.
Apparently, this is not enough for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. According to Jon Heyman of the NY Post, New York is one of the teams that has been most linked to Oakland Athletics ace Frankie Montas.
The small-market A’s went into full-scale fire sale mode during the offseason and were expected to trade Montas in a cost-cutting move. That did not come to fruition.
But with Oakland at 16-24 and in last place in the American League West, there’s a darn good chance that he will be dealt before the August MLB trade deadline. Below, we look at why a Frankie Montas trade to the Yankees makes sense.
Related: Ideal Frankie Montas landing spots
New York Yankees can’t have enough arms
Whether it’s Jordan Montgomery or Jameson Taillon moving to long relief, adding another top-end starter to the mix could help New York shorten games as the regular season continues. The Yankees don’t currently have that with Michael King being stretched the most (25.2 innings in 12 appearances).
As for what Montas brings to the table, history suggests that he’d be an upgrade over both Montgomery and Taillon in the rotation.
- Frankie Montas stats (2021-22): 15-13 receod, 3.43 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 260 strikeouts in 236 innings
During this very same span since the start of the 2021 season, Montgomery is pitching to a 6-8 record with a 3.69 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. While those are great numbers, he might actually be better suited for long relief. He’d also provide the Yanks with another lefty out of the pen.
Thus far this season, he’s averaging roughly five innings per start. Montas is averaging north of six innings per start.
New York Yankees have the prospects to offer up for Frankie Montas
As we saw with what the A’s did during the offseason, they value prospects who are nearly major league ready or those who can join the big league club right now. Acquiring Cristian Pache in the blockbuster Matt Olson trade with the Atlanta Braves was a prime example of this.
Oakland would likely demand two top-10 prospects and change in return for Montas. That’s especially true given that he’s under team control through the 2023 season. The Chicago White Sox were not willing to pay that when they were discussing a deal with Oakland prior to Opening Day. New York has the capability to offer this up.
Assuming New York Yankees top prospect Anthony Volpe is not on the table in trade talks, fellow shortstop Oswald Peraza could make sense. The A’s have stopgap option Elvis Andrus manning shortstop this season. He’s been a complete and utter disaster.
Peraza, 21, is currently playing at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. While he’s struggled to open the 2022 season, the Venezuela native is coming off a 2021 campaign that saw him hit .297 with 18 homers and 58 RBI in three different stops.
Oakland would also look for a major league ready starting pitcher to replace Montas. That’s where lefty Ken Waldichuk or righty Hayden Wesneski could make sense.
The Yankees’ No. 6 prospect according to MLB.com, Waldichuk has been brilliant in Double-A this season — pitching to a 4-0 record with a 1.26 ERA and 0.91 WHIP while striking out 46 batters in 28 innings. He could make it to Oakland at some point late in the summer after a stint in Triple-A Las Vegas.
Frankie Montas would be that luxury the New York Yankees “need”
As we saw with the Yankees last season, injuries have a way of popping up. Not a single member of the rotation made more than 30 starts during the 2021 campaign. Should an injury happen, New York would be in a great spot to make up for it.
Whoever is relegated to long-reliever duties would then step in as a spot starter — giving someoone capable of going five-plus innings on a conistent basis.
With the MLB Playoff structure as it currently stands, being the top team in the American League would loom large. Acquiring Montas would help the Yankees accomplish that feat.