As Van Wilder’s father once said, you sometimes have to realize a poor investment and cut your losses. (Write that down.) That appears to be what the Yankees are doing with starting pitcher Frankie Montas.
It won’t make the sting of last summer’s trade for the former Oakland A’s hurler go away, though.
Shortly after reporting to spring training in February, news dropped that Montas needed shoulder surgery. The initial fear was he’d be lost for the season. But after the procedure, there was optimism the right-hander would return sometime in August for New York.
Amid the Bombers’ second-half struggles, we hadn’t heard much about Montas’ status and whether he was nearing a return to the mound. But after New York’s 4-1 win over the Tigers on Monday, manager Aaron Boone essentially told the media that a Montas comeback in 2023 is unlikely (quote via NJ.com):
He’s throwing bullpens, but it’s probably not in the cards.
Based on his performance after getting acquired at last year’s trade deadline, the Yankees probably weren’t missing very much. Across eight starts (39.2 innings), Montas produced a 6.35 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. But still, it would’ve been nice to see him have a shot at bouncing back from that rough patch.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, the biggest headlines Montas made this season included his comments about not being fully healthy upon arriving in the Bronx:
Montas said that he “for sure” expects to pitch for the #Yankees this season. No target date set yet. He will resume playing catch in about 9-10 weeks.
— Bryan Hoch ⚾️ (@BryanHoch) March 8, 2023
Shortly after he made those comments, general manager Brian Cashman responded by saying the following:
I know [Wednesday] he said clearly he was hurt, but I think in terms of context, it’s easy for him to say that now, but when we got him, he said he felt great, he was feeling 100 percent and ready to go. I feel like he was genuine and sincere. So you go through the medical deep dive that you can do in-season.
You deal with the player when you get him and how he’s feeling. Everything came back good and aces, and without concern. But it didn’t play out that way.
Outside of having to pay for Montas’ salary, New York sent four prospects to Oakland to complete the trade (which also included reliever Lou Trivino). All of them were ranked within the organization’s top 25 at the time of the deal:
- Ken Waldichuk (No. 5)
- Luis Medina (No. 10)
- JP Sears (No. 20)
- Cooper Bowman (No. 21)
Waldichuk, Medina, and Sears have all logged big-league time in 2023 for Oakland. None of them have lit the world on fire with their new organization. However, this feels like a steep price to pay for next to nothing in terms of production (Trivino hasn’t appeared at all this year as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery).
Once the season is finished, you can imagine the Yankees will be happy to turn the page and move on from this debacle of a trade.