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  • Trade Target: Frankie Montas


    Nash Walker

    The Oakland Athletics are reportedly shopping their veteran starters. Is Frankie Montas a viable target for the Twins?

    Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports

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    No American League starter with at least 200 innings pitched over the last two seasons has a lower ERA than Chris Bassitt. Even then, the most intriguing starter for the Athletics is Frankie Montas. 

    THE PLAYER
    Montas, 28, is coming off a terrific season where he posted a 3.37 ERA (121 ERA+) and 3.37 FIP in an AL-leading 32 starts. Montas bounced back from a forgettable 2020 to set career highs in innings (187), strikeouts (207), and Wins Above Replacement (3.7). 

    Traded three times in as many years, Montas is no stranger to changing organizations. The Red Sox signed him as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 and traded him to the White Sox in 2013. 

    Chicago then moved him to the Dodgers in a three-team deal to acquire Todd Frazier in 2015. Finally, Montas settled in with Oakland after another deal just eight months later. Jharel Cotton, whom the Twins just claimed, was also a part of that deal. 

    After a tumultuous start to his career, Montas finally hit his stride in 2019 with a terrific 2.70 ERA and 2.90 through his first 15 starts. Then, more adversity. MLB suspended Montas for 80 games after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. He returned for one start in September but was ineligible for the postseason.

    Montas has a high-spin, upper 90s fastball that he could work up in the zone more. Like Bassitt, he overuses a mediocre-to-poor sinker. His splitter is terrific, with an expected batting average of .134 at a whiff rate over 50%.

    Montas’ splitter was the fourth-best in baseball in 2021 and produced the highest swing-and-miss rate among starters. Lefties destroyed his sinker, hinting that he needs to up the usage of that nasty split. 

    He’s already excellent against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .295 On-Base Percentage and .660 OPS in 2021. There’s more to unlock here.

    THE COST
    Montas is under contract for two more seasons with an estimated salary of $5.2 million in his second year of arbitration. With a raise in 2023, Montas is probably holding a two-year, $13-15M price tag. 

    Unlike Sean Manaea and Bassitt, who are free agents after 2022, Montas’ two remaining arbitration years theoretically double his value. If the Athletics are serious about resetting, it’s fair to assume they’d be looking for close-to-the-majors players in return. 

    According to MLB Trade Simulators, an imperfect tool, the Twins would need to part with a value that equates to a package of Ryan Jeffers and Trevor Larnach. If Montas replicates his 2021 season for the next two years, that’s a fair price to pay. 

    The enticing part of this deal is the upside. Montas, like Luis Castillo, is in his prime and harnesses some of the best stuff in the majors. With a few tweaks, the Twins could oversee a complete breakout from the promising right-hander. 

    What do you think? Should the Twins pursue Frankie Montas? Comment below!

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    He's been a target of mine in several trades I've proposed on this site after working them thru on Baseball Trade Values.

    He is certainly a young, controllable pitcher who would look great heading the Twins rotation.  I always preach "quality" over "quantity" whether it's a Vikings draft of 15 players after Spielman traded back 5 times or in the case of trades in baseball.  However, I find the Twins in a difficult position.  If I was building out a pitching staff and I already had Berrios & Maeda to go with Ryan and Ober, I'd be earnestly trying to put together a trade for Montas.  The problem is, there is no Berrios or Maeda.  We need QUANITITY" just as much as we need "QUALITY."  That's what makes Chris Bassitt such an attractive target to me.  He's nearly on a par with Montas but would cost a LOT less.  I'm saving Jeffers and Larnach for a blockbuster with the Marlins and putting a package together headed by Arraez to get Bassitt and Manaea.

    Here's the trade I posted on Baseball Trade Values as TonyO6

    A's Get:  Arraez  33.3  Rooker  1.7  L. varland  .50  =  35.5

    Twins Get:  Bassitt  17.0  Manaea  18.5  = 35.5

    If I had to, I'd probably subtract Varland and add a little more to the deal to get both these pitchers.  I acquire "QUALITY" but also "QUANITITY" as I fill TWO rotation spots.  The A's don't need Jeffers (they've got one of the top, young catchers in baseball in Murphy), but the Marlins DO need Jeffers.  I aim high and package Jeffers 19.2 and Larnach 18.9 with Woods-Richardson 14.5 and Urbina 4.2 (total 56.8) for Pablo Lopez (57.1).  If I don't aim that high, I can lower what I'm offering and go for a Max Meyer 22.2 or Sixto Sanchez  27.5.  

    I'm rebuilding the rotation with quality.  If Balazovic, Duran, Canterino, Winder, Sands and later Petty develop I can always trade pitching from a position of strength (like the Marlins are here).  PITCHING is Baseball's most sought after asset, and if used intelligently, will always bring back QUALITY.  

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    I am not trading Larnach and Jeffers for one year of Montas, because if they weren't willing to give Berrios a good contract, why would they give a big one to him, because he is going to get paid if he has another year like last year. Then they end up trading him for less than they gave away.

    I would include either Larnach or Jeffers, plus a decent pitching prospect and a flier on a young athlete.

     

    This trade as no chance of happening, if you were the Twins and somebody offered you Arraez, Rooker and Varland what would you be willing to give up? IMO it wouldn't be anything close to a major league pitcher. Rooker is going to be a throw in on any trade not a guy that has any actual value, again IMO

    A's Get:  Arraez  33.3  Rooker  1.7  L. varland  .50  =  35.5

    Twins Get:  Bassitt  17.0  Manaea  18.5  = 35.5

     

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    2 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    He's been a target of mine in several trades I've proposed on this site after working them thru on Baseball Trade Values.

    He is certainly a young, controllable pitcher who would look great heading the Twins rotation.  I always preach "quality" over "quantity" whether it's a Vikings draft of 15 players after Spielman traded back 5 times or in the case of trades in baseball.  However, I find the Twins in a difficult position.  If I was building out a pitching staff and I already had Berrios & Maeda to go with Ryan and Ober, I'd be earnestly trying to put together a trade for Montas.  The problem is, there is no Berrios or Maeda.  We need QUANITITY" just as much as we need "QUALITY."  That's what makes Chris Bassitt such an attractive target to me.  He's nearly on a par with Montas but would cost a LOT less.  I'm saving Jeffers and Larnach for a blockbuster with the Marlins and putting a package together headed by Arraez to get Bassitt and Manaea.

    Here's the trade I posted on Baseball Trade Values as TonyO6

    A's Get:  Arraez  33.3  Rooker  1.7  L. varland  .50  =  35.5

    Twins Get:  Bassitt  17.0  Manaea  18.5  = 35.5

    If I had to, I'd probably subtract Varland and add a little more to the deal to get both these pitchers.  I acquire "QUALITY" but also "QUANITITY" as I fill TWO rotation spots.  The A's don't need Jeffers (they've got one of the top, young catchers in baseball in Murphy), but the Marlins DO need Jeffers.  I aim high and package Jeffers 19.2 and Larnach 18.9 with Woods-Richardson 14.5 and Urbina 4.2 (total 56.8) for Pablo Lopez (57.1).  If I don't aim that high, I can lower what I'm offering and go for a Max Meyer 22.2 or Sixto Sanchez  27.5.  

    I'm rebuilding the rotation with quality.  If Balazovic, Duran, Canterino, Winder, Sands and later Petty develop I can always trade pitching from a position of strength (like the Marlins are here).  PITCHING is Baseball's most sought after asset, and if used intelligently, will always bring back QUALITY.  

    Your reasoning totally lines up with mine, Top Gun. Where you target both the OAK and MIA, both are motivated to trade pitching and you addressed their need.

    I'd also target Lopez because I think he'd be more accessible (but I'd settle for any of them) and I'd also headline Jeffers, addressing their need. Trading Jeffers won't hurt us as we can pick up a Castro type for a year and Rortvedt will be ready. We are deep in catching in the minors where we can draw from when Garver moves on. Only I'd like to keep Woods and Larnach but we have other options we can draw from. Trading from our depth to supply to our weakness, makes total sense.

    With OAK, I'd personally go with Montas because he's a RHP (which he'd fare better in our RH dominating division) and 2yrs. control. I like your trading pieces but I think OAK might want a pitching prospect in exchange.

    These are minor tweaks. Our proposal doesn't hurt us one bit in what we give up but it would immensely help fill our hole in our rotation, w/o hurting the Polhad's pocketbook. Congratulations, well thought out. Hope FO would act on this no brainer.

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    Think the A's would want closer to the majors pitching.  That to me would be one of the Twins or two of the Twins top 4. Would depend on what they want. Would not give two even for both.  We shall see.

    If the Twins are not going to spend money to extend these players, might as well fly with what we got and hope 2 - 3 out of 10 work out.

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    I agree with the commenters who oppose such a trade. Berrios was home grown. Why didn't the Twins sign him long term, or at least make a viable offer to him? All of this crud about wanting home grown talent? Berrios was home grown. So is Buxton. The idea is to build a team that can make it to the World Series, not a team with a winning record that's incapable of getting past the Yankees. It's disheartening. 

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    This is an interesting series Nash, with your Bassitt and Montas posts. If the Twins are not tearing it down, these two are prime targets. My offseason goal was to find trades that would potentially work and result in a 2022 Twins roster capable of competing. Miami and Oakland are possible partners.

    One trade offer I propose is to send Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, Luis Arraez, Brent Rooker, Tyler Duffey, and a minor league player or two like Alerick Soularie to Oakland for Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. This may need to be tweeked. Billy Beane will know what is reasonable. My initial targets in Miami were Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez, but they seem off limits. A proposal to the Marlins is to send Ryan Jeffers or Mitch Garver, Trevor Larnach or Max Kepler, Matt Canterino, Chris Vallimont, and Keoni Cavaco for Edward Cabrera and Max Meyer. My preference is to send Garver and Larnach. I would add Lewis for Alcantara instead of Cabrera or Meyer. 

    These trades may cost the Twins some valuable assets but return pitchers to stabilize the starting pitching at a value salary cost. In turn, this allows the Twins to push their pitching prospects forward aggressively without drowning them at the MLB level.

    Nash, I'm curious how you view the Miami pitchers as potential and viable for the Twins. While both Alcantara and Lopez carry high value, perhaps Cabrera and Meyer can be worth Falvey's time.

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    Interesting target. I'd think it really depends what the Twins are looking like in 2022 and if they'll be in the mix for winning the division or not. If not then it's really a trade for 2023 only which would make me a little more hesitant as there's no reason to believe the Twins would extend him. If you can get him for a reasonable package I'd be all for it, though.

    Not sure Jeffers would be of any interest to the As, though. The post isn't suggesting the Larnach and Jeffers package as much as giving an idea of the quality of player needed, but the As have a right handed hitting catcher who's young and better than Jeffers so they'd be unlikely to want him. I'd guess they'd want some young pitching in return. Twins certainly have that so wouldn't be against moving one or 2 of those guys, even if I'd prefer to keep them all if possible.

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    I agree with lots of the comments.  What I would do is work out the framework of a deal to get Montas.  Then work with his agents to get him an extension he agrees before the trade consumates.  It’s the Twins way, I’m not sure what that deal would look like, but get buy out his remaining two years and add 2-3 more years.  He doesn’t have the history to demand huge contract yet, but one more year might get him past the Berrios deal.  Trade/sign for 4 years wiping our 22-23, for a 4 year $10M in 2022, $12M in 23, then offer $15M for each year of 24 and 25.  He gets a shot at free agency at 32. So he gets $52M guaranteed before he hits free agency.  

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    Among the A's starters Bassitt makes the most sense to acquire on several fronts.  1.  He costs less in terms of prospect capital.  and 2.  The cost to extend him will not be too much.  He could probably be extended for a 2 year or 3 year for 15-18 million per season range.  I would think a 3 year 45-50 million gets it done.  Bassitt is 33 and has made only 8.25 million thus far.  the guarantee of that size should be a big value to him and his family.   To extend Montas will likely cost more in years and money per season.  and the talent difference between the two is not that big.  

    To get Montas I think the Twins would need to include a SP prospect and position player prospect and maybe 1 or 2 lottery tickets in low A or Moran or Gore also make sense.  

    I imagine the prospect pool that Oakland would want to deal from would include:  Arreaz, Rooker, Miranda, Jeffries, Larnarch, Martin, and Lewis.  I imagine Killeroff is off limits but we see how the front office hates players they did not bring in so Rooker is probably less likely to be dealt then Killeroff.  Also this makes Miranda a top prospect to deal too....  I could see Oakland wanting Miranda and Rooker and Moran and a low a lotto ticket.  that would replace the power lost from dealing Chapman and Olsen.  and give a bullpen piece.

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    I immediatly jumped on board with the the trade when I saw the Jeffers and Larnach suggestion.

    That makes me think it’s a light offer. But maybe not. I’ve never cared for Jeffers low offensive ceiling.

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    12 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

    This is an interesting series Nash, with your Bassitt and Montas posts. If the Twins are not tearing it down, these two are prime targets. My offseason goal was to find trades that would potentially work and result in a 2022 Twins roster capable of competing. Miami and Oakland are possible partners.

    One trade offer I propose is to send Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, Luis Arraez, Brent Rooker, Tyler Duffey, and a minor league player or two like Alerick Soularie to Oakland for Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. This may need to be tweeked. Billy Beane will know what is reasonable. My initial targets in Miami were Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez, but they seem off limits. A proposal to the Marlins is to send Ryan Jeffers or Mitch Garver, Trevor Larnach or Max Kepler, Matt Canterino, Chris Vallimont, and Keoni Cavaco for Edward Cabrera and Max Meyer. My preference is to send Garver and Larnach. I would add Lewis for Alcantara instead of Cabrera or Meyer. 

    These trades may cost the Twins some valuable assets but return pitchers to stabilize the starting pitching at a value salary cost. In turn, this allows the Twins to push their pitching prospects forward aggressively without drowning them at the MLB level.

    Nash, I'm curious how you view the Miami pitchers as potential and viable for the Twins. While both Alcantara and Lopez carry high value, perhaps Cabrera and Meyer can be worth Falvey's time.

    Hey Tony&Rodney!! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts here!! Your deal for Meyer and Cabrera is especially interesting. The Meyer connection is clear: he's a Minnesota kid and was rumored to be available at the deadline. I would be shocked if the Marlins traded Alcantara after the year he just had, but never say never. López seems like a viable target too. To me, though, Meyer is the guy. They have so much young pitching, Meyer dominated Double-A last year and isn't far off. I think he could be up in mid-2022. It's a great get for the future and for the fans whom value the Twins investing in MN players. 

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    12 hours ago, Thebigalguy said:

    I agree with the commenters who oppose such a trade. Berrios was home grown. Why didn't the Twins sign him long term, or at least make a viable offer to him? All of this crud about wanting home grown talent? Berrios was home grown. So is Buxton. The idea is to build a team that can make it to the World Series, not a team with a winning record that's incapable of getting past the Yankees. It's disheartening. 

    Gonna be a lot of pissed off Twins fans when we realize we could have kept both Buxton & Berrios for less than Carlos Correa's gonna get from someone.

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    Am I wrong here, or does Montas look remarkably like Berrios in some ways.  Age, ERA, 32 starts last year (durable),good stats, and still in arbitration.  What's not to like, right?  I would pull that trigger for a reasonable package, and give him a good contract - maybe 3 years with team/player options for one or two more years.

    My only question is:  if he has that level of talent that we see in his stats, and made all 32 of his starts, why only 187 innings; an average of not quite 6 innings a start.  Is his 3rd or 4th time through the lineup not good?  I noticed in his career stats he doesn't have a single complete game in his career.  Hard to figure with that arm and durability.  Is it just the nature of the way the game is being managed today, or does he not pace himself well in the early innings?  Just seems a shame to have a pitcher of his caliber only throw 5 or 6 innings on average.  Otherwise, it would be a great trade if they can pull it off.  

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