There it is, New York Yankees fans. Gerrit Cole’s co-ace is now on his way to the Bronx after general manager Brian Cashman swung a trade with the Oakland Athletics.
Frankie Montas will be the newest Yankee after being linked to the Bombers for over a year now. On Saturday night, the prized starting pitching jewel, Luis Castillo, was snatched off the market when the Seattle Mariners overpaid for him, sending their two top prospects to the Cincinnati Reds (and two others) in return.
That left the cupboard fairly bare for the Yankees based on who was available and who would truly change the complexion of the roster during the second half of 2022.
Montas certainly alleviates some concerns regarding New York’s rotation moving forward … but is this going to be “enough” to get over the postseason hump?
The right-hander lengthens the rotation, provides a bonafide No. 2 presence, and Cashman thankfully didn’t overpay here, (surrendering JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk and Luis Medina, but reportedly not Oswald Peraza). Montas, who got one or fewer runs of support in 10 of his 19 starts this year, will be in much better hands pitching behind the league’s best offense, too.
But then there are the “concerns.” Montas has appeared in just 5.2 postseason innings, logging a 9.53 ERA and 1.77 WHIP, giving up one run across two frames against the White Sox in the 2020 AL Wild Card Game and five runs in 3.2 innings against the Astros in the 2020 ALDS. Plus, he just got done dealing with a shoulder issue that saw him on the injured list for three weeks.
Yankees trade JP Sears in package for Frankie Montas, Lou Trivino
Don’t ignore Trivino, either, a reliever whose 2022 has been a blight (-0.9 WAR, 6.47 ERA), but who’s dominated every other season of his career. Not a bad throw-in.
Then again … Montas’ career stats against the Yankees top competition (and potentially playoff foes) is pretty darn good:
- vs Red Sox – 1.83 ERA, 1.48 WHIP (eh) with 20 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched
- vs Rays – 1.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP with 32 strikeouts in 33.2 innings pitched
- vs Astros – 3.40 ERA, 1.33 WHIP with 68 strikeouts in 76.2 innings pitched
- vs Mariners – 2.72 ERA, 1.05 WHIP with 79 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched
Looking at those numbers, it really makes you wonder if Castillo was that much better of a get than Montas (who is also controllable through 2023). Castillo has just one postseason start in his career (though it was a good one against the Braves in the 2020 WC Series) and logged just 12 total starts against seven potential AL playoff opponents the Yankees could face this year (and has been particularly bad against the Guardians and Twins).
Would that have been worth the Yankees’ top two prospects, another top 10 and one top 30? Makes you re-think Yankees’ fans’ previous, insatiable desires to land Castillo at all costs.
Perhaps we’re looking at a situation where Carlos Rodón (if available) joins Montas and makes the rotation even better than a singular Castillo acquisition would’ve made it. Stay tuned, there’s still more time for Cash to make it happen.