The New York Yankees are reportedly targeting two of the top starting pitchers on the market, the Oakland Athletics' Frankie Montas and Cincinnati Reds' Luis Castillo, ahead of Tuesday's 2022 MLB trade deadline.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Wednesday the Yanks have made upgrading their rotation a "priority," but so far they aren't close to any blockbuster deals.
New York's starting staff has been mostly strong throughout 2022. Its starters rank third in ERA (3.31) behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (2.77) and Houston Astros (3.21), per FanGraphs.
Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon are all putting together strong seasons, so the only real question mark is the No. 5 spot with Domingo German and Luis Severino both being limited by injuries this season.
The Yankees aiming for a high-end arm like Montas or Castillo is more a product of them owning realistic World Series aspirations than trying to fill a desperate need.
Montas has compiled a 3.18 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 109 strikeouts in 104.2 innings across 19 starts for the A's this season. He's struck out 578 batters in 552.2 career innings.
The 29-year-old Dominican Republic native is one of several players Oakland could move before the deadline with the front office focused firmly on the future. The team owns MLB's second-worst record at 37-63 in large part because of a noncompetitive offense.
After Tuesday's start against the Astros, the right-hander admitted a potential move has been on his mind amid a flurry of trade rumors.
"I'm not gonna lie, of course I've been thinking about it," Montas told reporters. "Especially with the deadline coming up pretty soon. There was a time today that I thought, 'Hey, this might be my last start here.'"
Meanwhile, it's much the same story for Castillo and the Reds, who sit at 37-59 amid a rebuilding project.
Castillo, 29, earned his second All-Star selection this season while on pace to post career-best numbers despite playing home games in the bandbox known as Great American Ball Park. He's recorded a 2.77 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 13 outings.
Like Montas, he also provides intriguing strikeout numbers, having racked up 852 in 785.1 MLB innings.
Either high-profile starter would provide a major boost to the Yankees staff, but that level of marquee trade is not necessary to keep the team in contention. Even a move for a less costly mid-rotation starter would help provide some insurance.
But, at least for now, New York's front office is shooting for the stars ahead of the deadline.