New York Yankees: Oakland A’s Yankees Acquire Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino in Big MLB Trade
The New York Yankees acquired starter Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino from the Athletics. On the other hand, instead, the Athletics will receive pitchers JP Sears, Ken Waldychuk, and Luis Medina, and second baseman Cooper Bowman.
After Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle, Montas appeared to be one of the better starting pitchers available at the trade deadline. The New York Yankees were linked to Castillo, but he was recently traded to the Mariners. The Yanks turned their attention to Montas in order to satisfy their desire to bolster their rotation.
Montas has been a solid member of Oakland’s rotation for years, establishing himself in 2018. Despite a down year in 2020, Montas still has a career 3.73 ERA with a 24.8% strikeout rate, 7.8% walk rate, and 43.5% ground ball rate. . Looking at what he’s done since the start of the 2021 season, he’s even better, logging a 3.30 ERA, 26.3% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 44% grounder rate. According to Fangraphs, he has a value of 6.1 wins above replacement during that time.
Despite being a solid performer, Montas has looked like an inevitable trade candidate for a while now. As the 2021 season ends and the offseason begins, it has been widely reported that the A’s are planning a massive sale of any player who will earn a significant salary and/or approach free agency. Montas is frequently mentioned among trade candidates, followed by Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Matt Olson, and Matt Chapman. Four of those latter names were moved between this winter’s lockout and the start of the season, but Montas remains. He’s making more than $5MM this season, making him the cheapest of that group, but only has one more season of club control remaining. With the A’s unlikely to return to contention at that point, it would make sense to make him available to other clubs.
The New York Yankees have been amazingly healthy in terms of their rotation this year, with their front five of Nestor Cortes, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery, all Yankees staying healthy through the initially three-plus months of the season. As such, the rotation as a whole logged 567 innings, third most in the majors, while posting a 3.37 ERA that ranked third in the league. However, Severino landed in IL a couple of weeks ago with shoulder stiffness. While he’s been out, Domingo German has made two starts but has an 8.22 ERA in them. When Montas reports to the team, they will either send the German back to the minors or a long-relief role. If Severino can get back on the mound while everyone else is still healthy, the Yanks may have to make a tough decision about fitting everyone into the mix, by the way, that is a good problem to have in the future.
The Yankees weren’t content to just upgrade their rotation, however, adding Trivino to the bullpen after the previous acquisition of Scott Effras, his second edition of the day. Yankee fans may look at Trivino’s 6.47 ERA and scoff, but there’s really a lot to like under the hood. Despite hitting around .250 the previous two seasons, Trivino succumbed to a .451 batting average on balls in play. His 28.7% strikeout rate and 52.3% ground ball rates on the year were career highs, while his 8.9% walk rate was a career low. Likewise, with Trevino currently sporting a 4.29 xERA, 3.84 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, and 2.89 SIERA, all advanced metrics feel that batted ball luck is masking his true talent. He is making a modest $3MM salary this year and could be retained through arbitration for another two seasons.
The Yankees’ bullpen was unstoppable for most of the season but then hit a few snags. Chad Green needs Tommy John’s surgery and won’t be back this year. Michael King is also done for a year after suffering a broken elbow. Once untouchable, Aroldis Chapman has struggled since coming out of IL. Clay Holmes, who seemed to replace Chapman as an unhittable monster in the bullpen, has also come back down to earth in recent weeks. With the additions of Effras and Trivino, the Yankees have given him some additional options for late-game duty.
The A’s have already completely remodeled their system this year with the aforementioned trades of Bassitt, Manaea, Olson, and Chapman, and this deal allows them to bring in four more new faces. Perhaps the highlight of the group is Waldychuk, 24, who is enjoying a tremendous breakout season. Selected by the Yankees in the fifth round in 2019, he has split his time between Double-A and Triple-A this year. In 17 starts between the two stretches, he has thrown 76 1/3 innings with a 2.71 ERA and an incredible 36.5% strikeout rate. A 10.4% walk rate is slightly above average, but there’s still plenty to be excited about in that performance. The southpaw was recently ranked the number 5 prospect in the Yankees system by Baseball America.
Sears, 26, ranked 20th on the same list at BA. Sears made his MLB debut this year(2022) and has looked good so far, notching a 2.05 ERA in his first 22 big league innings. He’s gotten strikeouts at just an 18.1% clip in that time but has been good at getting punchouts in the minors. In 43 Triple-A innings this year, he has a 1.67 ERA with a 4.3% walk rate and a 33.7% strikeout rate.
Medina, 23, considered one of the top Yankee prospects by BA, has oscillated between the number 7 and number 11 spots so far in 2018. He has made 17 starts in Double-A this year, throwing 72 innings with a 3.38 ERA, 50.9% ground ball rate, 26.4% strikeout rate, but a high 13% walk rate.
While the A’s are ramping up for the future, the Yankees are loading up right now. Their 69-34 record is the best in the American League and just a percentage point behind the Dodgers for best in the majors. Lately, they’ve beefed up their lineup by adding Andrew Benintendi, and Montas to their rotation,, and Efros and Trivino to their bullpen. Even though the trade deadline is still about 24 hours away, they have clearly cemented themselves as one of the strongest teams this year.