SNY insider blames Yankees' medical screeners for Frankie Montas trade
It's Brian Cashman's job to know more than the general public. Therefore, when he and the Yankees shrugged off the shoulder concerns that surrounded Frankie Montas before the 2022 trade deadline, that served as a signal to the fan base that it was alright to celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief.
Once the team determined that the price to pay for Reds right-hander Luis Castillo was too aggressive, Montas was by far the top arm on the market, and the Yankees' rotation -- missing Luis Severino -- needed reinforcements, and was in a position to "go for it."
Sure, Montas came with a few non-shoulder warts; his PED suspension and road vs. home splits bred caution. But, as long as he was healthy, it was tough to do better -- and borderline impossible to predict that passing on Jose Quintana would turn out to be a mistake. That particular take is the Captain Hindsight-iest of all time.
He wasn't healthy.
Montas' cameo with the Yankees, after coming over from Oakland (with Lou Trivino) in exchange for Ken Waldichuk, JP Sears, Luis Medina and Cooper Bowman, featured eight games. The right-hander resembled the pitcher New York acquired in two of them, very clearly battling through the issue that plagued him in Oakland. Eventually, he succumbed, hitting the shelf after a Sept. 16 start in Milwaukee, returning only to struggle in relief in the ALCS, something it also seems he never should've been cleared to do.
After a few weeks off, Montas struggled to ramp up his offseason throwing program. After a few more weeks, he opted into a surgical scope that could have him back in September, or could take him out for the season and end his Yankees career. As SNY's Andy Martino laid out on Wednesday in the wake of the news, Cashman harbors no ill will towards Oakland's Billy Beane for facilitating the trade, but needs to look internally at whoever approved the medicals, which were supposed to represent the Yankees' knowledge gulf between the team and their captive audience.
Yankees medical staff at fault for Frankie Montas situation?
We know nothing. We don't know who was responsible for what and what MRIs looked like in June, July or August. But the Yankees were certainly supposed to, and it appears whoever was paid to judge their integrity was unable to do so in a satisfactory manner.
Clearly, the shoulder got worse in the weeks and months after the deal. But the foundation was already there. The general public knew Montas had just missed a few starts with stiffness. As disappointed as that same general public would've been if Cashman had left the deadline without a frontline starter, they'd be equally satiated now, knowing that a massive mistake would've been avoided.
Waldichuk, in particular, would be nice to have. He'd be battling for a fifth starter role in the Bronx (though, let's be honest, the team would be undermining him at every turn). He'd be the type of depth that would allow Clarke Schmidt to slide back to the bullpen (or slide to St. Louis in a Brendan Donovan deal). He wouldn't be the centerpiece of a Bryan Reynolds trade, but he'd be a completely acceptable second banana to Jasson Dominguez/Oswald Peraza, something the Yankees don't currently have to offer.
He might also be injured or laid up soon. Injuries are unpredictable. That's what makes the Yankees' inability to predict one of the very rare predictable ones in Montas' shoulder so frustrating.