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How Yankees Trading for Frankie Montas, Scott Effross Impacts World Series Race

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 1, 2022

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The New York Yankees had their eye on pitching Monday, and they delivered with multiple moves.

First, New York announced it landed relief pitcher Scott Effross in a deal with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs received pitcher Hayden Wesneski in the deal, and he is already eighth on the rebuilding team's prospect list on the MLB.com rankings.

Jack Curry of YES Network then reported that the Oakland Athletics traded starting pitcher Frankie Montas and relief pitcher Lou Trivino to the Yankees for minor league pitchers JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk and Luis Medina and second baseman Cooper Bowman.

While Montas is the headliner, Effross is an underrated addition who figures to be a major factor as the Yankees pursue their first World Series title since 2009.

His sidearm delivery has baffled hitters on the way to a 2.66 ERA, 2.19 FIP and 10.23 strikeouts per nine innings, per FanGraphs. What's more, Baseball Savant notes opposing hitters have a 3.4 barrel percentage and 35.0 percent chase rate when facing the right-hander.

If there is one concern with Effross, it is the fact that he hasn't pitched in pressure-packed situations. The 2021 and 2022 Cubs were far from contenders, which is a different environment than Yankee Stadium will be in October.

Still, the bullpen needed some depth with Michael King and Chad Green lost for the season and Aroldis Chapman struggling on the way to a 5.01 ERA this year. The addition of Effross and Trivino, who has struggled with a 6.47 ERA but had a 3.18 ERA just last year, will help New York shorten games and get to Clay Holmes.

There aren't many weaknesses for a 69-34 Yankees team, and these moves help ensure bullpen depth won't be either. That only bolsters the team's World Series chances, especially if the starting rotation can lock down the early innings.

That starting rotation got much better with the addition of Montas, and Domingo German may eventually be headed to the bullpen as well to make room for the right-hander to join a group that includes Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes and Jordan Montgomery.

One more may eventually head to the bullpen if and when Luis Severino returns from the injured list.

It is all about October for New York at this point, and the cliche that one can never have too much pitching exists for a reason.

Severino's health is a question mark until he is back, and some of the other starters can eat critical middle innings during the playoffs over the course of a series. That may not even be needed, though, if Cole and Montas reach their potential as a lockdown one-two punch that could dictate a series by starting three or four games in every round.

Montas has a 3.18 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 109 strikeouts in 104.2 innings this season and was arguably the top starter available ahead of the deadline outside of Luis Castillo.

The Seattle Mariners landed Castillo from the Reds, so New York's counter will also help it match up with a fellow American League contender should they face them in the postseason.

Few teams in baseball can match the combination of Cole and Montas, which, when paired with the Yankees' powerful lineup, makes them even more of a threat to win the World Series. It may take only a couple of runs from Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton and Co. to win whenever they start.

Throw in Effross providing an answer to potential questions about bullpen depth ahead of Holmes, and there's little reason to doubt the Bronx Bombers' chances of parlaying their excellent regular season into a championship.

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