Grading Yankees’ Frankie Montas Trade (And Don’t Sleep on Lou Trivino): B+
Forgive the conservative grade here, but Montas’ recently-barking shoulder looms large in the wake of Luis Severino hitting the 60-Day IL and returning in mid-September (at best). Montas has been excellent dating back to the start of 2021, finishing sixth in the Cy Young chase last season, and has very solid statistics against the Yankees’ main competition. 1.83 ERA in 19.2 innings against the Red Sox. 1.87 ERA in 33.2 against the Rays. 8-5, 3.40 ERA against the Astros. That’ll all play.
Somehow, the Yankees managed to acquire him without surrendering top shortstop Oswald Peraza, too, leaving the 22-year-old as a second-half option in the Bronx. Even so, Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina and JP Sears is one hell of a big-league ready trio; even if Medina eventually transitions to the bullpen, he’s still a heat-chucking maniac.
Still … Brian Cashman has a “go for it” team and he is going for it. For too many years, he’s come up just short on Montas-level talents and beyond, seemingly scarred by Larry Rothschild’s unsuccessful tinkering with Sonny Gray. This time, he dealt some painful prospects away for a shot at a genuine No. 2 starter, whose import only increases with Luis Severino gone until mid-September.
Lou Trivino? Somehow, his BABIP is a ridiculous .451, meaning that any time anyone makes contact with his pitches — mostly on the ground — they bat nearly .500. That’s unsustainable and kooky beyond belief. Even if he doesn’t get back to the level he’s reached in previous years after Matt Blake streamlines his arsenal and places him in front of the Yankees’ superior infield defense, it’s still a worthwhile gamble, and a cherry on top of an impressive-but-not-perfect trade.