The biggest prize the Dodgers acquired in their 3-way trade with the Reds and White Sox was Frankie Montas, and now that prize will be sidelined for 2-4 months after Friday surgery to remove his first right rib.
Sound familiar? It should. While not because of thoracic outlet syndrome, it’s the same procedure Josh Beckett had performed almost three years ago. The issue here is that Montas had a stress reaction in the bone that was causing discomfort.
Obviously, this isn’t preferred, but it’s hardly the end of the world, either. Montas, 23 next month, has already debuted in the majors and was ticketed for Triple-A. His development isn’t going to be significantly impacted by this. Yes, it remains to be seen if he can stick in the starting rotation by developing his changeup to an acceptable level, but missing the first half of the season isn’t going to make-or-break those chances.
The Dodgers were probably expecting some kind of contribution from Montas, but their 2016 season doesn’t hang in the balance. And that contribution would have likely come out of the bullpen, where Montas is about 41st on the depth chart. If nothing else, this opens up some innings for guys like Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger, Jharel Cotton, Carlos Frias and/or Ross Stripling in the Oklahoma City rotation and bullpen.
Also, there might be a reason he didn’t have this surgery soon: He might not have known about the issue and/or the issue may not have presented itself until recently. We don’t know. But what can be said for sure is he didn’t decide just to have this procedure now to intentionally put himself behind in his development.
I see Montas as a reliever long-term, so this doesn’t really concern me. What would concern me is if he couldn’t come back from this at the level he was at before the surgery. Odds are, he’s going to be just fine and be pumping mid-to-high-90s heat out of the (OKC) bullpen come July. There’s still a chance he could see Los Angeles before September, but he will absolutely get that call when rosters expand (provided everything goes as planned).