Athletics ace Frankie Montas, who experienced a worrying velocity drop over the weekend, underwent an MRI that revealed shoulder inflammation, team trainer Nick Paparesta announced to reporters Wednesday (Twitter link via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle). He’ll receive a cortisone injection and miss his next start, but there’s no further timeline on his absence for now. Notably, the A’s have not yet placed Montas on the injured list, and Paparesta noted that the MRI did not show any structural damage in Montas’ shoulder.
While Montas has avoided the injured list for the time being, it’s still a concerning development for a pitcher who, along with Reds righty Luis Castillo, is widely viewed as one of the prizes of this summer’s trade market. The A’s tore down the bulk of their core over the winter, shipping Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea out in a series of cost-cutting trades that also built up what had become an increasingly thin farm system.
The expectation was that Montas would follow his teammates out the door, but the A’s never found a return they deemed in line with what was reportedly a sky-high asking price. He ultimately stayed put, started for the A’s on Opening Day, and has been the subject of trade speculation throughout the season.
Today’s announcement obviously doesn’t preclude the possibility of a trade, but any recent shoulder issue is going to make interested teams somewhat leery, even if they’ll be able to review all of Montas’ medical records first-hand. And, of course, if the current shoulder ailment is a portent for an absence of any real note, the A’s will likely lose the opportunity to extract peak value a player who was very arguably their most marketable trade chip even dating back to the offseason.
Montas is controlled through the 2023 season via arbitration, meaning they’d have the entire 2022-23 offseason to try again, assuming the right-hander is healthy at that point. They’d also have the first half of the 2023 campaign. That said, the trade value of a healthy Montas won’t ever be higher than it is right now, and if the A’s are unable to move him due to injury, they’ll no doubt be left feeling as though they overplayed their hand.
The 29-year-old Montas has been every bit as good this season as he was in a breakout 2021 showing, pitching to a 3.26 ERA over 17 starts — a total of 96 2/3 innings. The righty’s 25.8% strikeout rate is just barely south of last year’s 26.6% strikeout rate — strikeouts are down league-wide, on the whole — and he’s made improvements in his walk rate (6.2% compared to last year’s 7.3%), ground-ball rate (47.1% to 42.3%), average exit velocity (88.6 mph to 89.3 mph) and hard-hit rate (36.6% to 42.2%). Montas is making $5MM this year and will be eligible for arbitration once more this winter before reaching free agency following the 2023 campaign.
Excellent news. Now, let’s wait for the trade deadline trying to get the best possible package…
Just devastated his trade value
That leaves Castillo as the top pitcher available. Mahle also down with shoulder soreness.
No trade for you too!
Its risky holding a trade candidate longer for a better return. This could linger and bite the As.
Drew Waters Bat
Same as the Red with Mahle
A contending team’s plan B will be Miles Mikolas as the cardinals will be at least 10 back by the deadline.
Definitely takes a chunk out of his trade value, bummer for the A’s
And Mikolas isn’t going anywhere
Neither are the Cardinals
Sit back and watch. Don’t stop trolling, because it’s fun to read ignorant stuff like this, but sit back and watch at the same time.
Why are we acting like this kills his trade value? Dude got a cortisone injection, not TJS.
Oh, I don’t know, maybe because there could be the fear of an imminent, possibly even inevitable recurrence..?
That may not “kill” his trade value – but it would most certainly diminish it.
Just ask the Twins who all but disregarded the medicals on Paddack. Might as well just hold onto Montas until the winter
Essentially, cortizone is a band-aid, not a cure.
@goob That depends on the extent of the injury. I once got a sprained hand over time from rock-climbing. I resorted to getting a cortisone to help some the inflammation subside. My hand is now perfectly OK with no lingering effects when I occasionally go climb.
The A’s didn’t like the earlier offers, so this really doesn’t leave the A’s feeling like they overplayed their hand. If they had taken a lesser offer earlier, then they would have looked like they were dumping. An injury now does not effect that at all. Now if they trade him, and he throws back to back no-hitters, that could make them feel they moved him too soon. Never trade for less because of fear of injury.
Bc pitcher shoulder problems are very real and a reason to be concerned as there is yet a timetable for his return. Every player responds to cortisone shots differently.
I’d still offer up some time of (yes, diminished) offering for Montas and roll the dice.
Sox’ Burger for Montas.