Frankie Montas Trade Gives Yankees Truly Elite Rotation

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The New York Yankees acquired Frankie Montas from the Oakland A's on Monday, bolstering what was already an outstanding starting staff. Montas has elite stuff and will likely slot in behind Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes in what is now arguably the best rotation in baseball. It is a massive deal for the Yankees, who didn't have to surrender any of their top four prospects to get a deal done.

Montas only pitched three times in July thanks to a shoulder injury, but when he has been on the mound he's had a fantastic season. In 2022, Montas is 4-9 with 3.18 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 109 strikeouts in 104.2 innings. That follows a 2021 campaign where he went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP, with 207 strikeouts in 187 innings.

Even before the trade, the Yankees had a dominant rotation. Overall, New York's pitchers ranked third-best in MLB with a 3.19 ERA and third in WHIP (1.10). Among starting rotations, the Yankees also rank third in ERA (3.37), second in WHIP (1.08) and third in opponents batting average (.226). Montas will only improve that group.

The Yankees had to send their fifth-best prospect Ken Waldichuk, righty Luis Medina, lefty JP Sears and second baseman Cooper Bowman. They held on to the jewel of their system Anthony Volpe, plus fellow shortstop Oswald Peraza and outfielder Jasson Dominguez. If the Yankees want to go all-in, they still have additional ammo to do so.

Moving Montas -- who is under team control through 2023 -- for such a light return is a classic A's move. Look at the haul the Cincinnati Reds got for Luis Castillo and compare it to what Oakland got for Montas.

There's a long pattern of Oakland moving useful major league players for pennies on the dollar. Montas is just the latest. The Yankees just took advantage of the situation.