2022 Dodgers Trade Deadline Targets: RHP Frankie Montas, Athletics

Frankie Montas (Via)

Remember when the Dodgers didn’t get Todd Frazier in that famed 3-way deal with the Reds and White Sox back in 2015? Who woulda thunk Frankie Montas would have ended up being the best player of the lot. Now, he’s a realistic trade target for the Dodgers ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline.

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Montas has done pretty well for himself since being sent to Oakland (with Jharel Cotton and Grant Holmes) for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick (lol) in 2015. In his time with Oakland, he has some strong numbers:.

  • 3.70 ERA
  • 3.71 FIP
  • 17.2 K-BB%
  • 9.7 fWAR

Granted, he hasn’t always been healthy (this year included), missed time due to a performance-enhancing drug suspension (2019) and had one bad season (2020), but he had a career-year in 2021. He posted a 3.37 ERA in 187 innings, struck out 207 batters and finished sixth on the AL Cy Young ballot.

He left his July 3 start early due to a sore shoulder. After a clean MRI, a rehab stint and the All-Star break, he came back on Thursday and showed well: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 53 pitches. You have to figure he’ll be brought back gradually instead of getting back to the 93 pitches per start he averaged prior to his July 3 start.

If you don’t remember Montas with the Dodgers much, no one would blame you. He never pitched in a regular season game for LA. So, here’s a breakdown of his stuff.

He has a 4-seam fastball that averages 96.2 MPH and throws it 27.7% of the time. He backs it up with an 86.5 MPH splitter (25.7%), a 95.6 MPH sinker (21.9%), and 87 MPH slider (15.4%) and an 89.4 MPH cutter (9.3%). That’s … a lot more than expected. Here are his best pitches, according to Statcast run value:

  • Cutter: -4
  • Slider/Splitter: -3 (each)
  • 4-seamer: 0
  • Sinker: +2

With the way the Dodgers like to get the best out of their arms, a change in usage could be the key to unlocking even more out of Montas. Of course, this could also be a case of small sample size. His splitter was -10 last season and his slider was -11 in 2019. The fact that he has five legitimate pitches is encouraging, but maybe back off on the sinker a bit. He has a .424 wOBA against on it and a .382 wOBA last season. That might not be a fluke.

  1. Increase cutter usage
  2. Reduce sinker usage
  3. Profit

The Dodgers have been known to tinker, so if they reacquire Montas, that’d be something to watch.

Here are Montas’ pitches in action.

With the dearth of quality starting pitching options on the board, Montas’ value is a bit inflated. Still, he’s a quality hurler on the right side of 30 (until March) and is under team control through the 2023 season. He’s going to command a good return, and the A’s have no reason not to move him in the next eight days.

Cost

This isn’t a Soto situation, obviously. This isn’t even a Castillo situation. It’s more akin to when the Dodgers traded for Hill, but also maybe a little bit of Yu Darvish. It’s going to take a couple prospects — at least one in the Top 5 of the system — and maybe someone who can step in right away, if they’re not one in the same. They could also be interested in a lottery ticket-type guy, since they’re a ways of from being true contenders again. The type of prospect the A’s like are usually Moneyball guys — high on-base with pop. They’re also, seemingly, OK with guys who have contact issues but big-time power. The Dodgers have just what the A’s are looking for.

Proposal 1

To OAK: Michael Busch, Brandon Lewis, Andre Jackson
To LA: Montas

Tell me there isn’t a more A’s-like target in the Dodgers’ system than Busch. He fits what they’re looking for to a “T.” He headlines the deal for Montas and could see Oakland in the second half. Jackson gives them a rotation replacement and a young arm to try to develop. Lewis is a masher at Double-A who could be on the hot corner for the A’s in a couple years, if he puts the bat on the ball more consistently.

Proposal 2

To OAK: Yeiner Fernandez, Eddys Leonard, Gavin Stone, Justin Yurchak
To LA: Montas, Domingo Acevedo

Well, Yurchak might give Busch a run for his money as “Oakland A’s target prospect.” But this deal is about getting Stone, who is MLB-bound as early as next season and his stuff would play well in the Coliseum. Leonard is a solid utility player prospect, while Fernandez is a lower-level catcher/second baseman who could be an interesting project for their player developmental staff.

On top of Montas, the Dodgers would also get solid middle reliever in Acevedo. He’s a low-90s guy with a slider and changeup. He limits hard contact, misses a few bats and doesn’t walk a ton — prototypical middle reliever these days.

Proposal 3

To OAK: Braydon Fisher, Ryan Pepiot, Jose Ramos, Carson Taylor
To LA: Montas, Acevedo, Chad Pinder

Pepiot would be the main prize here. He could replace Montas in the rotation immediately. Ramos gives them a lower-level guy who has good potential. The A’s like collecting catching prospects (Shea Langeliers, Tyler Soderstrom, Daniel Susac), so why not add Taylor to the stable? And Fisher is in his first season back from Tommy John and is looking good in relief in Low-A so far.

Pinder is having a down season, but he has pop and a versatile defender. He has seen his average exit velocity dip 3.6 MPH from last season (3.3 MPH from 2020), so perhaps there’s something the Dodgers could do to get him back to his hard-hitting ways. Acevedo seems like a really logical trade target, considering the high price of premium relievers at the deadline.

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The Dodgers could knock out a couple needs by trading with Oakland. Andrew Friedman and Billy Beane have been somewhat frequent trade partners in the past, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them rekindle that relationship. Montas would help stabilize the rotation and have the Dodgers not rely on guys having career years or guys with significant injury histories.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.