The New York Yankees have acquired right-hander pitchers Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a package of prospects, the teams announced Monday. The Athletics will receive four players in return: lefties JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk, righty Luis Medina, and second baseman Cooper Bowman.
Montas, 29 years old, was the top starting pitcher on the trade market following Friday night’s trade that saw the Seattle Mariners obtain Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds. In 19 starts this season, Montas has compiled a 3.18 ERA (117 ERA+) and a 3.89 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His contributions have been worth an estimated 1.6 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball-Reference’s calculations.
CBS Sports recently ranked Montas as the second-best pitcher available. Here’s what we wrote at the time:
Montas’ arsenal remains power-based. He throws four pitches more than 10 percent of the time, and none of them clock in slower than 86 mph. (So much for needing a wide velocity band to keep batters off-balance.) The main reason he’s behind Castillo is he’s reliably unreliable. Put another way, Castillo is on pace for his fourth 100-plus inning season in five tries; Montas’ next will be the second of his career, a product of injury and suspension. On the bright side, he’s quite good when he’s available, and an acquiring team will control his services through the 2023 season.
Montas bolsters a Yankees rotation that currently includes Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo Germán. Germán figures to be bumped from the starting five to make room for Montas. It’s unclear how the Yankees will shift around their pieces if and when Luis Severino returns from his stint on the injured list with a strained lat. (He’s expected to resume throwing soon.)
Trivino, along with fellow deadline addition Scott Effross, will help a Yankees bullpen that has already lost Michael King and Chad Green for the season. Trivino was recently profiled as CBS Sports as one of the better under-the-radar trade candidates based on the promise of his new sweeping slider and an unsustainable batting average on ground balls.
Sears, 26, has appeared in seven games this season for the big-league team, amassing a 2.05 ERA (190 ERA+) and a 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s a small left-hander with a flat angle to the top of the zone who relies on three pitches: a low-to-mid 90s fastball, a slider, and a changeup. Sears has a history of throwing strikes, and he should get the opportunity to become at least a back-end starter for the A’s soon.
Waldichuk, 24, has posted a 3.59 ERA and a 3.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 Triple-A starts. He has a deceptive delivery and a good fastball-changeup combination, along with a pair of breaking balls that grade as fringe or better. Waldichuk has struggled with his location, and it’s possible that he winds up pitching in relief. The A’s will presumably give him a look as a starter since they have no real reason not to.
Medina, 23, is viewed as a certain reliever. His fastball-breaking ball combination is quite good, but he’s a smaller right-hander with a career walk rate exceeding six per nine innings. He’s posted a 3.38 ERA and a 2.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Double-A this year.
Then there’s Bowman, a 22-year-old middle infielder. He’s hit .217/.343/.355 with eight home runs in 80 High-A games.