Will the Red Sox make a splash at the Major League Baseball trade deadline? Boston is in the thick of the American League Wild Card race and could use a few pieces. As such, we’ll examine whether several notable trade targets make sense (or don’t make sense) as the club looks to retool for the second half of the season.
It’s been well over a decade since the Red Sox signed Frankie Montas as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, yet he’s a name to watch with the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline approaching.
The Oakland Athletics are going nowhere this season, which means they’ll likely move Montas in the coming days, and Boston can’t be ruled out as a potential landing spot, even though it’s unclear whether the Red Sox will be buyers, sellers or some combination of both.
Montas originally joined the Red Sox in 2009. They then shipped him to the Chicago White Sox in 2013 as part of the deadline trade that brought Jake Peavy to Boston. He’s been with the A’s organization since 2015, making his first start for Oakland in 2017.
Does a Red Sox reunion make sense all these years later? Let’s dive in.
Position: Starting pitcher
Age: 29 (March 21, 1993)
Weight: 255 pounds
19 games (all starts), 104 2/3 innings
4-9 record, 3.18 ERA, 109 strikeouts
1.127 WHIP, 3.36 FIP, 117 ERA+
9.4 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 3.89 K/BB
121 games (91 starts), 552 2/3 innings
35-32 record, 3.73 ERA, 578 strikeouts
1.272 WHIP, 3.71 FIP, 109 ERA+
9.4 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 3.19 K/BB
*through July 28
Why Montas makes sense for Red Sox:
Montas is really good despite pitching for an awful team. He has a four-pitch arsenal (four-seam fastball, splitter, slider and sinker), which he mixes well, and can reach back for high-90s velocity. The results have been fairly consistent for most of his MLB career, even since his 80-game PED suspension in 2019. Montas and Luis Castillo are the two best starters reportedly available before the deadline, with Shohei Ohtani obviously a unicorn based on his ability to dominate on the mound and in the batter’s box.
But perhaps this is the most important note about Montas as it relates to the Red Sox: He’s under contract through next season. So, he wouldn’t just be a rental, which is an important distinction as Boston plots its path for the remainder of 2022.
The Red Sox’s rotation is expected to welcome back Rich Hill and Michael Wacha down the stretch. And James Paxton could enter the equation, as well, after recovering from Tommy John surgery. That might be enough for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom to devote his attention elsewhere, especially with Boston already leaning on a few young starters in recent weeks. But the rotation is an area that’ll need to be addressed this offseason, regardless of what happens over the next two months, and acquiring Montas would give the Red Sox a head start on 2023 while also boosting their postseason chances for 2022.
Why Montas doesn’t make sense for Red Sox:
The cost could be prohibitive. The A’s presumably will ask for a lot with Montas under club control through 2023, and another contender might be more desperate to add him right now, viewing the right-hander as the missing piece to its World Series puzzle.
Sure, Montas would be a nice addition for Boston — this season, next season and potentially beyond if it was able to work out a contract extension — but would the Red Sox be comfortable meeting Oakland’s demands if they’re unsure whether he’ll truly impact a playoff race for them in 2022?
Bloom and company have done an excellent job of building up Boston’s farm system. Now, they need to pick their spots wisely, and one could argue Montas isn’t worth the prospect capital the Red Sox would need to relinquish when you consider their current place in the American League standings.
Verdict: The Red Sox might kick the tires on Montas, but he’s destined to land with a team that’s already committed to going all in for 2022.
Prediction: The A’s trade Montas to the St. Louis Cardinals.