Yankees’ Frankie Montas trade deadline disaster has 1 silver lining


So, the New York Yankees traded for a postseason No. 2 starter who probably won’t make the postseason roster, and you’re looking for some potential upside.

Strangely, it isn’t that hard to find — and it doesn’t even involve crossing your fingers and toes and hoping against hope that Frankie Montas’ second season of control in the Bronx is perfect and fulfills your dreams for Year 1.

Montas is likely down for the count for 2022 with a shoulder issue — a recurring problem for the right-hander, and one that he dealt with before the trade deadline, too. If he returns before the end of the season, Aaron Boone believes it’ll be as an opener/reliever. Raise your hand if you want to see that happen. Any takers?

That means New York will roll with a playoff rotation of Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino and Jameson Taillon (though we’d reverse the first two names if given the chance). Domingo Germán will make the roster as a swingman/potential fifth starter. It’s not all bad, but it would look better with the full-strength Montas who Yankees fans never really got to meet. That said, it’s fairly full, pending no other unfortunate shuffles.

Which brings us to the only silver lining of the Montas deal being a 2022 bust. The Yankees have no glaring need for both JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk this season, and will be betting once again next year that Montas will outperform both parties.

If the two left-handers were still in the Yankees’ system, neither would be any more of a “sure thing” right now than the injured Frankie the Yankee is. In fact, both are currently battling hard times in their new uniform.

Former Yankees JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk struggling in Oakland

Again, this is only a 2022 silver lining. If the Yankees could reverse the swap, they very well might. Years upon years of control of Sears, Waldichuk and Luis Medina would still be preferable to a finger-crossing Montas season.

But right now … yeah, you wouldn’t want those guys in October, either.

There was a time when it seemed unforgivable to strip Sears off the 2022 roster and remove depth at the game’s most important position. That time is not now. Over his past seven starts, the left-hander has a 6.54 ERA with 44 hits and 13 walks allowed in 31.2 innings. That’s a 1.80 WHIP, mitigated very little by his below-average 25 strikeouts.

Below the hood, things are just as bleak. Sears is in Statcast’s 4th percentile in average exit velocity, 9th in hard-hit percentage, and 14th in barrel percentage. If the Yankees had held up any deal over Sears’ inclusion — even a Montas deal, which we now know didn’t work as intended — they would’ve been filleted in the press.

Waldichuk, on the other hand, would never have appeared in the bigs for the 2022 Yankees, and is getting his feet wet in Oakland in much the same way Anthony Volpe is in Scranton: in anticipation of next year.

That said … his 7.15 ERA in five starts would also be unwelcome on the Yankees’ playoff roster, which is kind of the whole point of things, isn’t it?

There’s an outside chance Waldichuk would be a member of the Yankees’ crowded bullpen picture entering October, but there’s no chance Sears would have a leg up on even an injured Montas.

Now, Hayden Wesneski? That’s a whole different story. He and his immaculate inning would be invited to sit with the big kids. But this Oakland deal seems to have been a 2022 wash for everybody, which might help a skittish Yankee fan sleep at night.