The New York Yankees are dealing for Oakland Athetlics starting pitcher Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino, per YES Network's Jack Curry. The 29-year-old Montas boasts a 3.18 ERA this season and was probably the best starter left on the board after the Seattle Mariners nabbed Luis Castillo.
Since the start of 2021, Montas has a stellar 3.30 ERA over 291 2/3 innings. The sustained success has come alongside a greater emphasis on his terrific splitter, which plays off 96 mph heat that he can throw as a four-seamer or two-seamer. Trivino, a 30-year-old right-hander, is having an erratic season after two solid years in the back end of the Oakland bullpen. He's got a 6.47 ERA for 2022, but is also running a career-best strikeout rate, so the Yankees will take a flier on a pitcher who has put together several very successful seasons in the past.
In return, the Yankees will reportedly send back their best pitching prospect, left-hander Ken Waldichuk, along with pitching prospects JP Sears and Luis Medina and second base prospect Cooper Bowman. It's a hefty return that clearly compares to the Luis Castillo trade. The Yankees have been adamant about not trading shortstop prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, and this move was accomplished without those youngsters.
Montas was one of few marquee pieces the A’s held on to after a winter fire sale. He will remain under team control through 2023, giving the Yankees a No. 2-caliber starter.
Whether he counts as the Yankees’ No. 2 starter depends on your opinion of Nestor Cortes, the breakout star who has used a variety of darting breaking balls and funky deliveries to flummox hitters and log a 2.53 ERA across 19 starts. The 27-year-old lefty has already exceeded his career high in major-league innings, so having insurance makes sense for general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees.
After a miraculously healthy first few months, the Yankees' rotation took a hit when Luis Severino hit the IL. Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon have been solidly above average in 2022, but Montas brings a higher ceiling than any current Yankees starter except ace Gerrit Cole. Montas' strikeout percentage is consistently in the game’s upper echelon — it’s 14th among qualified starters in 2022, a nose ahead of Justin Verlander — and could be a crucial skill in getting past other AL contenders like the Houston Astros.
The Yankees are currently only two games ahead of Houston for the top seed in the AL.
With Montas, the Yankees’ rotation compares to any team’s in the game, and if Severino returns to health, an extra member may help bolster the bullpen, too. Tracking toward a 100-plus win season, the Yankees began their deadline season by acquiring contact-hitting outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Royals. It’s widely expected they could also flip outfielder Joey Gallo before Tuesday’s trading cutoff.
The biggest challenge for Montas will be switching his home park from the cavernous, pitcher-friendly coliseum in Oakland to Yankee Stadium, famous for its short porches. His splitter, which helps him maintain a top 20 ground-ball percentage among qualified starters, may need to take on an even more prominent role.