Frankie Montas trade notes: Yankees get an ‘A’ for landing on start and hanging on to top prospects

The New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics completed a six-player trade on Monday afternoon, just over 24 hours from Major League Baseball’s 2022 trade deadline. The Yankees got a right-handed starter Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino in exchange for left-handed pitchers J.P. Sears and Ken Waldichukright handed louis medinaand second baseman Cooper Bowman.

The Yankees had already made a pitching acquisition on Monday, adding a reliever Scott Effros from Chicago Cubs. Montas and Trivino will join him to bolster an injury-hit squad. The A’s, for their part, are continuing a rebuild that began over the winter by adding a loaded set of near-ready weapons.

At CBS Sports, we’re judgment-only, which means providing near-instantaneous analysis on big trades this time of year. Below are the Yankees and Athletics ratings, along with explanations of those ratings.

That said, let’s start with a recap:

The Yankees receive

  • RHP Frankie Montas
  • RHP Lou Trivino

Athletics receives

  • LHP JP Sears
  • LHP Ken Waldichuk
  • HRP Luis Medina
  • 2B Cooper Bowman

Yankees Rating: A

The Yankees, holders of the best record in the majors, entered the limit season in need of pitching reinforcements. They won as much on Monday adding Effross and now Montas and Trivino. The Yankees had to part with three of their top 10 prospects for those improvements to happen, According to Baseball Americaincluding their fifth and ninth best youngsters in this affair for Montas.

After castle louis was exchanged at Seattle Mariners last Friday, Montas established himself as the best starting pitcher available on the market. He’s a 29-year-old with an extra season of team control who’s totaled a 3.49 ERA (117 ERA+) and 3.43 strikeout ratio in 91 appearances since 2018.

Montas is an unusual starter in the sense that he’s all about brute force. His fastball comes in at 96 mph and the slowest pitch in his arsenal is his 86 mph splitter. This faster, and even faster, approach defies convention, but it works for him. He is able to generate many strikes and swings outside the strike zone.

Montas still gives some reviewers pause because of its inconsistency. His next start will be his 20th of the year, marking only the second time he’s crossed that threshold in a big league season. (To be fair, he’s started 11 times during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.) Montas hasn’t reached that number in the past due to suspension and injury, and his recent absence caused by shoulder problems has raised eyebrows across the league. He’s made two appearances since, and the Yankees (among other teams) obviously felt comfortable with his status.

Montas’ extra year of team control is an underrated advantage for a Yankees team that could lose Jameson Taillon in free agency this winter.

Trivino doesn’t have as much brand appeal as Montas, and its seasonal numbers aren’t as pretty. In 39 appearances this season, he amassed a career-worst 6.47 ERA. CBS Sports recently named him one of the top under-the-radar trade candidates.however, based on the strength of his new sweeping slider and the likely regression of his unsustainable batting average on ground balls.

The Yankees have made a habit of coaching relievers on rehabilitation projects, including Clay Holmes and Michael King. Don’t be surprised if Trivino ends up being the next example. He can run his fastball in the mid-90s and his aforementioned sweeper has generated a 52% smell rate to date, suggesting he should prioritize it as his primary offering going forward.

Although we noted above that the Yankees had to trade two of their top 10 prospects for Montas and Trivino, it should be noted that the Yankees have so far been able to avoid dealing one of their best hopes. Anyone can guess what the Yankees will do the rest of the deadline, if anything, but Cashman must be happy he was able to add those three arms, plus AndrĂ© Benintendiwithout separating Antoine Volpe, Oswald PerazaWhere Everson Pereira In the process. Also, this is a Yankees organization that has proven adept at helping pitchers make big wins quickly; Monday’s exchanges were just another reminder of that.

Athletics Rating: C

Athletics began this rebuild as soon as the owner-imposed lockdown was lifted, trading Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitand Sean Manee. Montas’ departure comes as no surprise to anyone paying attention. However, performance is difficult to assess.

You can argue – as some reviewers from other teams have – that this is a quantity over quality approach and the A’s should have aimed higher for two in-demand veteran arms, in Montas and Trivino. Players match Oakland’s stadium and predilections, allowing them to exceed expectations and ratings without context. (If our grading system were more sophisticated, we might call it a C which will soon look like a B.)

We’ll illustrate this point by focusing on the two main elements of payment: Sears and Waldichuk.

Sears, 26, is the only member of the four to see big league duty. In seven innings, he racked up a 2.05 ERA (190 ERA+) and a 3.00 strikeout ratio. These numbers don’t matter. What matters is that he has a full arsenal and some underlying indicators to suggest he might be able to cut it as a starter.

Sears has an unusually flat release point up the area, the product of his arm lunge, height, and ability to get down the mound. It’s listed at 5-foot-11, but it generates an additional six inches of extension, or the distance between the pitching rubber and its release point. By covering this ground, he not only plays his fastball game beyond his low speed of the 90s, but he also creates a harder angle.

Sears’ fastball doesn’t have a ton of vertical break, induced or not, but it does have some of the most extreme leaks of right-handed hitters in the majors. Indeed, he ranks 11th in this regard, behind new teammates Flight AJ and Kirby Sneadwhich leads us to believe that the A’s targeted Sears for this reason, among others.

While Sears likely would have been used in a relief capacity with the Yankees, we expect the athletics to give him the opportunity to start. He seems ready for the challenge.

Waldichuk, 24, has made 11 Triple-A starts this season. He posted a 3.59 ERA and 3.04 strikeout ratio in those outings, suggesting he’s almost ready for the big guys. Depending on who you talk to, Waldichuk either has a good fastball-change combination (with two decent breaking balls) or just a good fastball and an arsenal of average secondaries.

Either way, Waldichuk has a deceptive delivery that bothers hitters and his own ability to throw similar strikes. He walked four of nine batters, both this season and throughout his professional career. The A’s will probably work with him on that, but it’s unclear how realistically they can smooth out. He is likely to make his league debut sooner rather than later.

Another interesting aspect of this trade for the A’s is how they continued to target pitchers during this rebuild despite their cavernous ballpark seemingly serving as a built-in advantage in improving usable arms. In the past two seasons alone, the A’s have received more mileage than expected from cole irvin and Paul Blackburn. It would be an overstatement to write that the A’s can hook almost anyone and pull off decent innings when they’re at home, but you get the gist.

Clearly the A’s don’t seem to believe it themselves. They’ve gotten 16 players in their five “Reconstruction-era” trades — this one, Bassitt, Olson, Chapman and Manaea — and 10 of those 16 have been pitchers. Part of that is the nature of how rosters work – it’s easier to find a place for a pitcher than any other position – but part of it seems to point to a concentrated effort to secure guns, and especially those who will thrive in the Coliseum.

Is this the right move for a team that seems to have an intrinsic advantage? Or should the A’s focus on adding position players or other types of skill sets that may be more difficult for them to obtain? This is a philosophical question that probably deserves its place.

Medina, 23, is a light right-hander with good fastball and breaking ball who spent the season in Double-A. Although he’s started 17 games this season, he’s a pure relief prospect for us due to a well-below-average command projection (he’s walked more than six of nine batters in his pro career) due to the severe drag of arms of his delivery. Medina will have no options after this season, according to FanGraphswhich means he will be a member of the bullpen by next spring.

Bowman, a fourth-round pick in 2021, is an inside midfielder who has mostly played keystone this season. Despite being at an appropriate level for his age, he batted just .217/.343/.355 with eight home runs in 364 trips to plate.

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