The New York Yankees are in swift danger of being priced out of a market full of No. 2 starters whose current teams are treating them like aces. Thanks to the Mariners’ wild overpay for Luis Castillo — and hey, sometimes you have to give to get — the entire market is being recalibrated below the Yankees’ noses.
That has led to desperation being met with exaggeration. Do the Yankees need starting pitching help to carry them through the remainder of the season and help the bullpen get some much-needed rest? Absolutely. It’s not just a want. It’s a need. New York finished a .500 July with the top offense in the game yet again, but only the 20th-best rotation ERA and 11th-best bullpen ERA. Unfortunately, the rest of the league is aware of these statistics, too.
Castillo seemed to be earmarked to the Yankees until Seattle offered up Noelvi Marte, their top prospect and the equivalent of New York’s prize shortstop Anthony Volpe, to sweeten the package. Before including Marte, it appeared the Yanks could acquire Castillo — solidly a No. 2, possibly an ace outside the constraints of his home ballpark — for a package centered around Oswald Peraza and Ken Waldichuk. Sadly, the Mariners decided to stir the pot.
This change in the trade market has led every team that still holds a starting pitcher to recalculate their desires. Frankie Montas of the A’s is not Luis Castillo. He’s a bull coming off shoulder stiffness who was suspended 80 games for PEDs back in 2019. He doesn’t currently possess the best fastball whiff rate in baseball like Castillo does. There’s something special there, but his health is no guarantee (is any pitcher’s?), and he isn’t quite as poised and polished as the Reds ace who came before him.
And yet, there’s Volpe’s name once again! Now, I’m no math whiz, but when, “If Oakland asks for Volpe, it’s not happening” is added to the equation, that means Oakland has likely already asked for Volpe while sitting on a Volpe-less offer.
Yankees want Frankie Montas, but Anthony Volpe has entered the rumors chat
If nobody beats the Yankees’ current Montas package — which seems to have been offered — then the A’s starter and all his question marks will be theirs. If somebody swoops in and pays Oakland handsomely, though (and don’t forget that Oswald Peraza is already quite a jewel), New York will have to pivot yet again, while hoping the San Francisco Giants don’t become the third consecutive team to request Volpe.
The Yankees’ No. 1 prospect should not be utterly untradeable. He should just be off the table when it comes to Montas or a half-year of the spectacular Carlos Rodón, reserved instead for pursuits like Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, or any other upcoming disgruntled star from a water-treading team.
Rodón dominated “one last time” in San Francisco on Sunday Night Baseball, as the circling sharks were unable to overwhelm SF enough to pull him and ship him out. In terms of true talent, he’s ahead of Montas if available. In terms of durability, both starters come with the same concerns.
Hell, even Castillo started extremely slow in 2021 and led the NL in walks before rebounding. There wasn’t a single sure thing in this starting pitching trade market, and the surest thing ended up being dealt for one of the strongest trade packages in recent history.
That’s backed the Yankees into a corner, and they’ll either have to treat Montas like an ace, too, or head to the back of the line.
Unless, of course, nobody hops in to pressure them this time.