He is the latest of the players who were closely associated with the offseason rumor mill to stay with the A’s.
But as Frankie Montas prepares for another start in Oakland on Thursday, the approaching trade deadline has many wondering how much longer he will start in green and gold.
“He will end up being one of the most desirable players in the market,” MLB insider Robert Murray told KNBR on Tuesday. “Alternatives held on to him in the off-season exactly in this scenario, when there will be a bunch of competing teams. You now have a third wildcard command, so the list of commands that are in the list will be longer. [contention] and that will create a trade war.
“The industry expects the straight-A students to end up with the absolute catch for a guy like Montas.”
Montas, 29, has been resilient and reliable this season. He hasn’t missed a start in his turn in the rotation — even after hitting the pot and going in the second inning on May 21 — and he’s one of only 19 pitchers in MLB to break the 80-inning mark. environment.
On the mound, the right-hander is 3-7 with a 3.53 ERA over 14 starts. He struck out 84 batters in 81 2/3 innings, allowing 73 hits (and nine homers) and 20 walks.
He was about as reliable as you can expect from a pitcher in 2022. With the exception of an injury-shortened start on May 21, Montaz hit fives for at least five innings in every start, even when he wasn’t at his sharpest.
He hit something of a rough patch in his three June starts, allowing 14 runs in 17 innings and only 13 strikeouts. But this month has been something of an anomaly, as the Oakland defense has failed him on two separate occasions:
- Back on June 5 against Boston, an untimely mistake in the sixth inning led to more unearned damage later in the inning when a homer with two outs of three runs opened the tie.
- He gave up a season-high 10 hits and five runs in a June 17 loss to Kansas City. But his defense let him down as well, as a key mistake in an eventual double-ball in the fifth set sealed those last two runs. , both of which were unearned.
Among the 19 starters to hit the 80-inning mark, the only pitcher to have more unearned runs allowed in a season than Montas’s six is the Astros’ Justin Verlander with seven.
And looking at the Statcast numbers shows that the pitcher is diversifying his arsenal and improving the quality from game to game. After throwing a dizzying dose of weights and sliders early in his career, Montaz continued to throw his split-finger fastball more and more often, giving him the four serves he legally uses.
Compared to other Major League pitchers, the only thing Montas does at the elite level is get batters to chase out of bounds: 34.3% of chasing speed is in the top 10% of MLB pitchers. But in almost every other key advanced metric, it is at least above average.
After years of ups and downs and a rocky 2020, Montaz built his strong 2021 season where he went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 187 innings, good for a sixth-place finish in AL Cy Young voted – and continued to be strong even as the team around him changed dramatically and stalwarts such as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Sean Manea and Chris Bassitt were sold.
This is partly why Montas is considered next. And while the A’s currently have the worst record in all of baseball (23-46 as of Wednesday), the changes to this year’s playoff picture will also help Oakland in every possible trade and should create a big field for teams looking to to the exchange. one of the best starters available.
The situation with the Montas contract also helps in this. In March, he agreed to a $5.025 million contract for this season and has another year of arbitration eligibility before he becomes a free agent in the 2023-24 off-season, so he’s not just a renter.
Accessible. Consistent. Reliable. All these qualities of a pitcher are needed by every baseball team. And although the fives have it in Montas, it seems more and more likely that they won’t keep him for long.