That’s right: They still have Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza as trade chips for a future deal (Juan Soto perhaps?) or to be a part of their own future. And they also have Montas, one of the more underappreciated starting pitchers in baseball the past couple years.
Stock up for Montas, of course, who goes from the team with the worst record in the AL to the one with the best. As good as the rest of his stat line looks, it’s his 4-9 record that’s made him only the 52nd-best starting pitcher in points leagues and the 46th-best in 5×5 scoring. It might be 9-4 if he had been with the Yankees from the get-go, and I’d expect him to be a top-25 starting pitcher moving forward.
Of course, there’s also the matter of him going from one of the best pitcher’s parks to one of the worst, but that’s not going to impact him as much as his 5.01 road ERA would have you believe. He’s more of a ground-ball pitcher at this stage of his career, which makes him less vulnerable to venue. In his last two full-length seasons, 2019 and 2021, the home/away splits were pretty even (actually better on the road in 2019).
But what about health? After all, Montas missed a couple turns before the All-Star break with a sore shoulder. His velocity has rebounded in two starts since returning, though, and his stuff has played more or less like usual.
As for what the Athletics got back in the deal, JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk could be of immediate interest in Fantasy. Waldichuk is the headliner, building on last year’s breakout to position himself as a top-100 prospect currently. I actually had him as an honorable mention in my midseason top 30.
The left-hander relies on deception more than pure stuff, but he gets hitters to swing under his mid-90s fastball and has good sweeping action on his slider. His 13.5 K/9 rate the past two years kind of speaks for itself at this point, and though his walk rate has climbed with his move up to Triple-A 11 starts ago, he’s pitched well enough there to earn a look as soon as the Athletics have an opening. With Montas gone and Adam Oller currently occupying a spot in the starting rotation, it shouldn’t take long.
Presumably, Sears is the one who claims Montas’ spot. We’ve seen him pitch in the majors already this year, both as a starter and a reliever, and his numbers in 22 innings — a 2.05 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 6.1 K/9 — are pretty good. Even better are his numbers at Triple-A:
They’re a little misleading, though. His fastball is his best pitch but isn’t overpowering in a traditional sense. Only twice has he exceeded five innings in a start this season, and the majority have been four innings or less. Between that and a limited secondary arsenal, his future is probably in relief, but Athletics may need him to give them as much volume as he can right now.
One last note: The Athletics also moved reliver Lou Trivino in this deal. He had been serving unreliably as the team’s closer since about mid-June, and chances are Dany Jimenez, who’s nearing a return from a shoulder strain, was soon to replace him anyway. You could also speculate on left-hander A.J. Puk and right-hander Zach Jackson in deeper leagues.