By Joseph Dycus
Frankie Montas may be the only person outside of the A’s clubhouse who wants Frankie Montas to keep wearing the green and gold. Despite publicly saying that he wants to stay in Oakland, it is sounding more and more like Montas will be wearing a new uniform come Tuesday’s trade deadline.
“He understands what he’s been told from the outside, and that there’s a high probability of him being traded,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay told reporters before Saturday’s game in Chicago. “That said, Frankie comes prepared every day. We talked about his mindset and his focus today, and whether he starts for us or someone else on Tuesday, it’s on him to be ready for his start.”
Provided the A’s pull off what most are predicting them to do, the expected return for Oakland’s ace with a 3.18 ERA should be gargantuan. Consider the case of Luis Castillo and his two All-Star berths earned with the Cincinnati Reds, who was considered the 1A to Montas’ 1B on the pitching market.
So valued were Castillo’s services that the Mariners, for the second time in less than a calendar year, traded top prospects to the Reds, reuniting Castillo with infielder Eugenio Suarez and outfielder Jesse Winker. The Mariners sent away three of their best minor league prospects, including the highly-touted shortstop Noelvi Marte, in the Thursday trade.
It’s a steep price for one player, since the trade has essentially transported the majority of Seattle’s future to middle America. However, for a talent-laden team fighting for their first playoff berth in 21 years, that’s the kind of price one pays to bolster their shot at contention.
Which brings us back to the East Bay, where the A’s ranked 20th in Bleacher Report’s farm system rankings prior to recent trades. Shea Langeliers should be in the green and gold within a year, and recent draftees Tyler Soderstrom, Henry Bolte and Daniel Susac provide hope for the distant future. But the last-place A’s probably want to shore up young (and cheap) talent at the deadline.
If Castillo’s ransom is any indication, a winning team with aspirations of a World Series trophy will pay handsomely for an arm that can go deep into games. The 29 year-old Montas is a proven commodity and would instantly improve any pitching staff in baseball.
It’s also worth noting that the right-handers are the same age and their contract statuses are virtually identical — and most importantly, team-friendly. Both Montas and Castillo are under team control for another year and won’t be unrestricted free agents until the 2024 season. Their current deals are essentially the same — Castillo’s contract reportedly is worth $7.35M; Montas is scheduled to earn $5.025M.
While it seems like a foregone conclusion that Montas will be headed elsewhere by Tuesday’s 3 p.m. PT deadline, the manager feels like the same cannot be said for all of his teammates.
“I don’t see many of our position players or pitchers being mentioned in the media, so if I was of the mindset that something was imminent, I might have more one-on-one conversations with players,” Kotsay said. “I don’t see anything written as aggressively about our guys as I have about Frankie.”
One player who may draw interest from other teams is slugger Ramon Laureano. He has had a down year at the plate since returning from an 80-game PED suspension, but still flashes good bat speed and a solid glove.
“I just deal with trade rumors by hitting better,” .220 hitter Laureano said before Wednesday’s game. “I have to focus on my job to do. So you know, I have to go out there and rake.”
Source: Paradise Post