MLB Rumors: Frankie Montas Market 'Focused on' Yankees, Cardinals, Blue Jays

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JULY 21: Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Detroit Tigers during game two of a doubleheader at RingCentral Coliseum on July 21, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Three teams have distanced themselves from the pack in the race for Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Sunday that Montas' market is "focused" on the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals ahead of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline.

The Seattle Mariners finalized a deal for the Cincinnati Reds' Luis Castillo on Friday, taking perhaps the best pitcher off the trade market. That leaves Montas as the top arm still available.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 4-9 with a 3.18 ERA and a 3.36 FIP in 19 starts, per FanGraphs.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported the Yankees discussed a Castillo swap with Cincinnati. Negotiations hit an impasse when the Bronx Bombers were prepared to deal Oswald Peraza but not Anthony Volpe.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Saturday that Montas became New York's new primary target.

The Yankees are already 12.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays for first in the American League East, and they have a starting rotation headlined by Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes. They don't desperately need pitching help, but they clearly want to leave nothing to chance in pursuit of a 28th World Series title.

Toronto and St. Louis have a stronger incentive to take a big swing prior to the trade deadline because neither is leading its division. The Jays have a two-game cushion in the AL wild-card race, while the Cardinals are one game back of the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL's final wild-card spot.

While Montas' next team remains in doubt, it seems safe to assume his days with the last-place Athletics are numbered.