We should've seen this coming. We should've realized that getting failed 2022 trade acquisition Frankie Montas a courtesy rehab start, followed by a courtesy Royals outing, wasn't just a gesture of goodwill by the New York Yankees.
The Yanks don't do feel-good stories. They don't do good juju. They just do business, and entering September, Montas was a distressed asset they'd failed to maximize after surrendering a trio of top pitching prospects (Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, JP Sears) for him last July.
New York's brass typically only trades for rentals they believe they can re-sign to multi-year contracts -- or, at least, players who they intend to pursue once they hit the open market. Andrew Benintendi last winter was the rare exception, though the Yankees were reportedly in on him until his market tripled in price thanks to the Chicago White Sox. Add Harrison Bader to the list, too; he will not be extended after he was, instead, sliced off the roster in September.
Montas could be the shocking long-term "winner" of that deadline, though, as Yankees insider Bryan Hoch said out loud what we were all rolling around on our brain canals before Montas was elevated to the roster over the weekend. Yes, the Yankees could, in fact, re-sign him, which feels like a serious possibility on a ~$7.5 million, one-year deal. If New York doesn't get it done, it likely won't be for lack of trying.
Yankees seem likely to bring back right-hander Frankie Montas
Montas was as thankful as anyone that he was afforded the opportunity to get back on the mound after his refuge was cruelly stolen from him for a year and a half.
If you recall, shoulder issues aside, Montas missed a chunk of time after being traded to the Yankees on the bereavement list, tending to a death in his family. When he finally did return, something was still amiss, and complications arose from the stiffness he'd experienced prior to the trade.
Whether Brian Cashman incorrectly trusted an MRI/a crack team of orthopedists or willingly ignored a cloudy picture to receive a slight discount, Montas wasn't right for the duration of 2022's second half, and derailed the "best rotation in baseball" before it ever started this offseason, announcing in January that his shoulder problems had persisted.
The Yankees certainly need pitching next season, as Carlos Rodón ended 2023 in a dark place (literally), Nestor Cortes Jr. has inherited "nebulous shoulder problems" from Montas, and Clarke Schmidt/Michael King/Jhony Brito/Randy Vásquez could all find themselves flambeed on the hot stove. Montas, on a one-year, prove it deal, wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Only issue is? He'd then have to actually prove it.