Why the St. Louis Cardinals should trade for Frankie Montas
By Josh Jacobs
What would it take to trade for Frankie Montas?
The fact that the Oakland Athletics have not traded Montas already should be a signal for just how much they value him, or at least how much more they value him than other clubs do. Plenty of teams would love to acquire Montas, but are teams willing to meet the A’s asking price?
Taking that into account, but also knowing that Montas only has one more year of team control after this season, it is likely the Cardinals will have to pair with 2-3 prospects/borderline major leaguers to make this deal happen. Although it is hard to speculate the exact players it would take to get this done, here is what I would guess a realistic trade for Montas would be.
Cardinals Receive: Frankie Montas
Athletics Receive: Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez
As painful as it would be to lose Noot and an up and comer like Yepez, this is probably the minimum requirement for an arm like Montas in this market. Fortunately for St. Louis, they have the organizational depth to part with these pieces.
Lars Nootbaar broke unto the scene slashing .239/.317/4.22 with 9 extra base hits and 15 RBIs in 124 plate appearances while providing solid defense in the corner outfield spots. Lars has the potential to be a nice contributor on a major league club for years to come, but is currently blocked by the young and dynamic trio of Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and Dylan Carlson.
Even with the addition of the DH, Lars has only managed to play in one game this season due to competing with Corey Dickerson and Albert Pujols for at bats. Alec Burleson is knocking on the door of the majors at the moment, and Joshua Baez is another high potential outfielder finding success in the Cardinals system. As much of a fan favorite as Lars is, he is becoming the odd man out both on the present ballclub, and future of the team. He is a valuable piece to have, but may be more valuable as a trade asset.
As for Juan Yepez, he finds himself in a similar situation as Nootbaar. Although Yepez can play a few other positions on the diamond, he really is more of a true first baseman and DH combo due to his lack of range and clear limitations on defense. Currently, Paul Goldschmidt plays pretty much every day, and with Pujols’ presence on the roster, it is unlikely Yepez will be on the major league roster barring injury to one of these guys.
In 2021, Yepez slashed .286/.383/586 with 27 HRs, 29 2Bs, and 77 RBIs across 431 plate appearances in AA and AAA. Yepez is ready to contribute to a major league roster, but does not appear to have a clear path. Guys like Jordan Walker and even Luken Baker provide the Cardinals with first base depth long term, and Goldschmidt has not show any signs of slowing down. Unless the Cardinals plan on clearing at bats at DH for Yepez soon, he could be used to acquire high level pitching.
The Athletics may want another prospect in the deal for a guy like Montas, but Yepez and Nootbaar provide a good foundation for a major move for St. Louis.
The question now becomes, will the Cardinals make the call?