The New York Yankees have reportedly shifted their focus to Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas after the Cincinnati Reds dealt ace Luis Castillo to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported Montas is the Yanks' "top starter target" ahead of Tuesday's 2022 MLB trade deadline, but they're also exploring secondary options such as the Pittsburgh Pirates' Jose Quintana.
New York has received strong performances from a majority of its rotation this season—Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon—but injuries to Domingo German and Luis Severino have created some issues in the remaining spot.
German recently returned from a shoulder injury, but his first two starts have been underwhelming with seven earned runs in 7.2 innings (8.22 ERA).
A move for a veteran such as Quintana, who owns a 3.50 ERA this season, would be a solid safety-net move that would likely be possible without having to trade any high-end prospects. He could shift to the bullpen if German eventually returns to form.
Trying to land Montas would be far a more expensive investment, especially after the Mariners set the market by sending four prospects to the Reds for Castillo.
The A's starter has compiled a 3.18 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 109 strikeouts in 104.2 innings this season. He ranked 13th in MLB with 207 strikeouts in 2021.
Montas explained he's become accustomed to trade rumors over the years but that he's hoping this year's deadline passes without a move.
"I'm pretty much used to it, even though I'm not expecting to be traded," the 29-year-old Dominican Republic native told reporters. "Hopefully I can stay here."
Yet, with the Athletics owning the league's second-worst record (39-63) and him having just one year of contractual control remaining via arbitration, a trade seems likely as Oakland's front office focuses solely on the future.
He'd form one of MLB's best one-two pitching punches with Cole in New York, but the Yanks must decide whether a rotation upgrade is important enough to pay what's likely a high asking price.