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Frankie Montas to undergo shoulder surgery

The Yankees’ presumptive fifth starter will have surgery on his shoulder next week; his return timetable is unclear.

MLB: SEP 16 Yankees at Brewers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, that escalated quickly. It’s been known for a while that right-hander Frankie Montas would miss the first month or so of the 2023 season. But during the past morning, the situation changed, and not for the better.

First came the news a couple of hours ago that Montas was undergoing further testing and that surgery on his shoulder was a possibility. Shortly after, the Yankees confirmed Montas’ need for surgery, which will occur this coming Tuesday.

As things stand right now, the Yankees seemingly have the starting pitching depth to withstand the loss of Montas. The first name to come to mind for most is likely Domingo Germán. Newly bestowed with No. 0, there is a case for him to replace Montas in the rotation, as Peter articulated last month.

On the other hand, Clarke Schmidt looms as an in-house option to fill Montas’ shoes. His case to step in as the fifth starter is right here, put forth by Andrés last month. Either way, there are at least two feasible options the Yankees can turn to without needing to acquire anyone. (Esteban also floated Michael King as an opener alternative.)

In the very short term, the usual days scattered through the first couple weeks of the season theoretically lessens the need for the club to get too wound up about the fifth starter. But by mid-April, the Yankees have an extended stretch of games, with only one scheduled day off between April 18th and May 21st.

The surgery also will not do anything to lessen the sting of the price the Yankees paid to acquire Montas at the trade deadline last season, as top-100 prospect Ken Waldichuk is now in Oakland (in addition to three other players). His performance down the stretch last season was less-than-ideal, punctuated by injury, and now he will miss at least the first half of the season. Worse, missing the entire season is a real possibility. With Montas due to hit free agency after this season, it’s disturbingly likely that the Yankees will see extremely limited returns on that trade.

At this point, all the Yankees and the club’s fans can do is hope that Montas’ surgery is complication-free and that the righty recovers without any setbacks.