Once the ace of the Athletics’ rotation, Frankie Montas has been something of a forgotten man since being issued an 80-game PED suspension on June 21. Montas will be eligible for the last five games of Oakland’s regular season, however, could still help the A’s get into the playoffs. GM David Forst told Chris Townsend of the A’s Cast podcast (partial transcript from Ben Ross of NBC Sports Bay Area) that the team is prepared to use Montas as either a starter or reliever, and has kept him stretched out in simulated games in case a start is required in one of those five games. Montas could also get a minor league game under his belt if Oakland’s Double-A or Triple-A affiliates advance in the postseason, as Montas is eligible to begin a rehab assignment beginning on September 10.
Montas was in the midst of a breakout campaign at the time of his suspension, with a 2.70 ERA, 9.7 K/9, and 4.62 K/BB rate over 90 innings. Though he won’t be eligible for the postseason if the Athletics are able to claim a wild card, Montas could certainly still be a valuable x-factor during what could be a very tense final week of action as the A’s, Indians, and Rays battle for the two wild card slots.
Some stray items from around baseball…
- After returning from the injured list just yesterday, Ramon Laureano left the Athletics’ 10-2 win over the Tigers tonight due to what the A’s described as a right leg cramp. After a leadoff double in the sixth inning, Laureano made it into second base despite “limping right out of the box,” as MLB.com’s Martin Gallegos described the situation. Manager Bob Melvin told Gallegos and other reporters that he hoped Laureano would be back on Monday, as the outfielder was already scheduled for a planned day off on Sunday. Laureano missed over five weeks due to a stress reaction in his right shin, and another absence would be the last thing he and the A’s need as the club chases down a wild card berth.
- Amidst the speculation about whether or not J.D. Martinez will exercise the opt-out clause in his Red Sox contract after the season, Ken Rosenthal (in his latest video report for FOX Sports) points out that Martinez doesn’t necessarily have to decide right now if he wants to leave Boston. The slugger also has opt-out clauses after both the 2020 season and (assuming he can avoid another Lisfranc-related right foot injury) 2021 season, so he could perhaps wait one more year to see if his market evolves. Despite Martinez’s hitting prowess, there aren’t too many obvious suitors for a mostly DH-only player….unless the National League were to become involved, as Rosenthal wonders if Martinez would stay in his contract to see if the NL adopted the designated hitter in the next collective bargaining agreement.
- Also from Rosenthal’s video, he makes a case for why Didi Gregorius could be “the odd man out” for the Yankees even if he performed well for the remainder of the season. New York might simply prefer to use Gleyber Torres at shortstop in 2020 rather than re-sign Gregorius, who is almost seven years older than Torres. Recovery from Tommy John surgery kept Gregorius from playing until June 7, and he is one of the few Yankees not tearing the cover off the ball, with a .252/.282/.462 slash line and 14 homers over 280 plate appearances (for a below-average 90 wRC+). If the Yankees did decide to move on from Gregorius, however, Rosenthal figures the team would still need to extend another veteran infielder, as DJ LeMahieu (who’d play every day at second base if Gregorius departed) is only under contract through the 2020 season.
- The Rangers and Yohander Mendez will learn in the offseason whether the left-hander’s one remaining minor league option will still be retained for 2020. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram details the situation, as the league already granted Mendez a fourth option for this season, though the lefty only made his 2019 debut today after missing the first five-plus months rehabbing a sprained UCL. This means Mendez hasn’t accumulated the 20 days of optional minor league assignment necessary to burn an option year. If Mendez is ruled to be out of options, the Rangers would then have to designate him for assignment (and thus expose him to a waiver claim) if they wished to remove him from the 40-man roster.