The Yankees performed some trade magic on Monday afternoon. First, they dealt pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski and brought in Chicago Cubs reliever Scott Effross. That was just the appetizer, as the main dish was something special. New York got its man for the rotation, Frankie Montas, from the Oakland Athletics.
But Montas did not come alone. Reliever Lou Trivino will join him in the Bronx, as a quartet of prospects heads to Oakland: pitchers Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, and JP Sears, plus infielder Cooper Bowman. The Yankees killed two birds with one stone and solidified both their rotation and bullpen in one move.
For the Yankees, this means that their rotation is set at least for the next month and a half, barring injuries: Gerrit Cole is the ace, and Montas will take Domingo Germán’s spot. Nestor Cortes, Jordan Montgomery, and Jameson Taillon complete the unit.
Germán and Clarke Schmidt will be available as depth, with Schmidt optioned to the minors for now. Luis Severino, placed on the 60-day injured list on Monday to open up a roster spot, won’t be available until the middle of September as he will slowly ramp up his throwing progression after suffering a lat strain on July 13th.
Whereas many of the available pitching targets really didn’t move the needle much for a team like the Yankees, it’s fair to say Montas does that, and then some. He has a solid 3.18 ERA and a 3.36 FIP in 104.2 innings this year, with a 25.8-percent strikeout rate and a 6.6 percent walk rate. Those are very solid numbers, and he will now be surrounded by a good defensive unit in the infield.
Stuff-wise, there is little doubt that Montas belongs at the top of an MLB rotation. He throws his four-seamer in the mid-90s, he has a very good slider and throws three additional pitches: a sinker, a cutter, and his trademark splitter:
Frankie Montas, Wicked Splitter and Slider. pic.twitter.com/kcpkgdFpDX— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 14, 2022
That splitter is pure filth. Montas has a 32.9-percent whiff rate with it this year, but it was an incredible 51.4 percent last year. In 2022, it has an xwOBA of .218, too, and it was .177 last season. (Look for more on Montas from Sam in a little while.)
As for Trivino, the Yankees are making a calculated gamble. He has a horrible 6.47 ERA in 32 frames, but there are lots of positive signs to work with. The right-hander’s FIP is a much lower 3.84, and his xFIP is even better at 2.92. In addition to that, he is sporting a career-high 28.7-percent strikeout rate and a 53.2-percent groundball rate. His fastball velocity hasn’t really changed, so we could very well be looking at pitching coach Matt Blake’s future successful project. (Peter will have a more detailed dive into Trivino’s potential under Blake later today.)
For the A’s, it wasn’t a bad deal at all. Waldichuk is obviously the big fish here, with a 2.71 ERA and 116/33 K/BB ratio over 76 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A this season. He could be a middle-of-the-rotation starter if things break right for him.
Medina has a big arm with high velocity, but some control issues that limit his ceiling somewhat. Sears has had success in both Triple-A and the Bronx this year and could make it as a backend starter or an effective multi-inning reliever, while Bowman could carve himself a role in MLB someday, though he is much further off.
It’s an OK haul for Oakland, but given the fact the Yankees didn’t have to part ways with Oswald Peraza, they had to make this deal. In fact, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, New York was able to keep its four top prospects after trading for Montas, Trivino, Andrew Benintendi, and Scott Effross (Waldichuk, the highest-ranked player dealt, was fifth).
We can firmly say that this was one of the best deals of the deadline. The Seattle Mariners sent shortstops Noelvi Marte (their No. 1 prospect and firmly in the top-15 overall) and Edwin Arroyo (No. 3), as well as right-handers Levi Stoudt (No. 5) and Andrew Moore to the Cincinnati Reds for Luis Castillo, a pitcher in roughly the same tier as Montas, albeit a smidge higher.
The Yankees, so far, have addressed starting pitching, bullpen, and the outfield. That marks virtually all of their needs, but stay tuned for any further action later today.