Why I’m out on Frankie Montas

A ton of folks have asked us about Frankie Montas recently and I get it to an extent. Montas was worth around 4 WAR last year depending on where you look after posting a 3.37 ERA in 187 IP for the Oakland A’s last year. Montas is 29 years old, has two more years of control left on his contract, and is projected for another ~3.5 WAR in 2022. On the surface, I get it. He’s a good pitcher and the Royals don’t have many pitchers who have proven they can be good in the big leagues yet.

On the other hand, what are our realistic expectations for the Royals in 2022? If you really buy into the idea of WAR, do you think Montas is so much more valuable than whomever the Royals fifth starter will be that he’s going to make them a contender all of a sudden? Montas, a pitcher who is admittedly talented, posted an ERA of 5.60 just on season ago in 2020. By no means am I suggesting that that’s who Montas is, but this is the guy we want to sell our soul for?

Montas would be awesome to have. If he was already in the Royals system I would be PUMPED to see what he could do for the team in 2022. But to act like he’s some kind of pendulum swinger that’s going to put the Royals over the edge is sort of fools gold. He’s not James Shields. Hell he’s not even Zack Greinke. He’s a good, not great, pitcher that the Royals could certainly use but should absolutely, for NO reason, sell the farm for.

I also want to be clear that I would feel differently about this if the Royals had gone 84-78 last year. If the Royals had narrowly missed the playoffs, had a young roster coming back that got its feet wet in 2021, I’d be all for something like this. The window just isn’t open yet the way a move for Montas might suggest. MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto, Bobby Witt, Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino and company have a combined zero big league plate appearances. I know Montas is under contract in 2023, but he’ll be a free agent moving into 2024 when the Royals contention window will FINALLY be open. Why do we want to sell players that can help that 2024 team for a guy who won’t be around when we get there?

Maybe I’m overestimating the price that it will take to acquire Montas. Maybe you can get him for Kris Bubic and Austin Cox and feel better about the move. Maybe he’s a Maikel Garcia and Jackson Kowar away. I just don’t see how the A’s let a guy like that go for that price when there are contenders that could use Montas for a World Series run in 2022. And, like I said, I’d be good with that for the Royals if they were at the point! I said it earlier, if the Royals had been over .500, go for it! I think there are contending teams that should sell part of their soul for Montas. The Royals just aren’t at that point yet and they shouldn’t be price matching teams who are there already.

So anyway, I know this isn’t probably the trade you care the most about today, but I appreciate you reading it anyway. I get why folks like Montas. I like Montas! He’s got a great arm. He’s a good pitcher. He’s not going to swing the pendulum so far that the Royals can compete for the playoffs in 2022. He’ll be gone in 2024 and the Royals shouldn’t be trading valuable pieces of that 2024 team for a guy who won’t be here. Just my thoughts on the deal.

2 thoughts on “Why I’m out on Frankie Montas

  1. Hi Alex – thank you for the reasonable analysis of any Montas trade. The fans love to consider the deal and enjoy getting a new guy who will help. However, the cost of this deal based on expectations of 3 of KC’s top 10 prospects is too high for Montas. This deal doesn’t get KC over the .500 hump into playoff contention. Also, if one or two of the young guys make an expected third year leap in production, we may have a Montas type on hand already.

    Enjoyed your interview with Joel and Anne R. recently. Good to match a face with the voice! I’ll proudly wear my Royals Farm Report shirt to the ball park this year. Maybe we’ll run into each other at Omaha or NWA!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I disagree with you on several areas. First, I do agree that you don’t unload the farm system for him. Now…..they didn’t have a winning record last year but keep in mind that their starting and bullpen pitching got much better in the second half of the season and they had a winning record after the all start break at 37-34. That’s a promise. This year, their bullpen will be even stronger and their starting pitching will be better in my opinion with Grienke and improvements from some of the rookies and that’s without Montas. Imagine if he is part of that. And our offense won’t be Top 10 but depending on how Bobby Witt plays and how Mondesi plays, we could have a Top 15 offense. Defense will be awesome. And lastly, we have A LOT of minor leaguers next off season that either have to be moved onto the 40 man roster or we just lose them. LOSE THEM. So why not take a few of them (not any of our top 3 or 4 minor league stars) and trade them a little farther down for Montas. If we are going to lose some of them anyway, might as well get something for them.

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