You may not remember, but Frankie Montas was a Yankee last year. Him and his one relief appearance at season’s end following shoulder surgery.
Needless to say, Montas has been the ire of #YankeesTwitter since coming over from Oakland via trade in 2022. The Yankees traded two popular pitching prospects for him—J.P. Sears and Ken Waldichuk—only to receive an injured and ineffective Montas. He posted a 6.35 ERA in eight starts thanks to a bum shoulder before hitting the injured list and missing the playoffs.
Even worse, Montas never got wheels under his offseason throwing program and had surgery on his shoulder early in spring training.
Meanwhile, in his latest Yankees Inbox for MLB.com, Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch implies a potential reunion. In fact, he goes to far as to say “the wind appears to be blowing in that direction,” regarding Frankie Montas staying in the Bronx.
And, to be completely honest, it’s a good idea.
Think about it. First, Montas just missed an entire season with an arm injury. That means a cheap one-year deal, and Hoch’s prediction of $7.5 million and maybe an option for 2025 seems accurate. It matches his 2023 salary and the option is essentially a good faith investment in Montas if he stays healthy.
But forget the money. The Yankees re-signing Frankie Montas could also be an excellent baseball decision. The Bronx faithful look at him and just see a failed trade candidate. Another case of general manager Brian Cashman trading exciting young talent for someone who doesn’t work out for whatever reason.
People seem to forget that before he was an injured trade bust for the Yankees, Montas was a five-pitch ace in Oakland. He posted a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts before the trade…and with an achy shoulder!
More importantly, the Yankees need more established arms in the rotation. Gerrit Cole is the only truly reliable one unless Carlos Rodon stays healthy all of next year. After them, it’s a mix of gambling on youth, health, or both.
Suddenly, re-signing Montas doesn’t seem such a bad idea. It’s either that, put all the offseason eggs in the Yoshinobu Yamamoto basket, or gamble on Randy Vásquez and untested minor league stud Drew Thorpe.
There will be plenty of crowing from everyone and their mother about how the Yankees should just move on from Frankie Montas. He’ll be an old and rusty 31 by Opening Day, let the kids pitch, #FireCashman, etc. etc.
Granted, the Yankees aren’t so desperate that re-signing Montas is a top priority this offseason. It’s more about them having a reliable arm in the middle of the rotation instead of gambling on an untested youngster.
Better for the Yankees to take on a trusted and established borderline ace in Frankie Montas. At worst, he can be traded midseason.
At best, Cashman spins straw into gold again and Montas is back in ace form. The risk is worth the reward, particularly since his floor is pretty high. It’s hard to imagine the former A’s ace getting through spring training healthy and being worse than Luis Severino was last season.
Frankie Montas pitched through an injury well enough that Yankees traded for him anyway. Unfortunately, his arm gave out once he became a Yankee and he never got the chance to pitch at his best.
After losing all but one game to recovery in 2023, he deserves to bounce back as a Yankee in 2024.