Evaluating Frankie Montas as a St. Louis Cardinals trade target: while the star right-hander is a fit, the price tag makes a deal unlikely.
When the St. Louis Cardinals made only one addition to the rotation – Steven Matz – and stood pat with the rest of their starting pitchers, it immediately raised a red flag. Then Jack Flaherty got hurt, thrusting career reliever Jordan Hicks in the rotation, and a hole on the roster became even more glaring.
To the Cardinals’ credit, they have hung tough without Flaherty. Adam Wainwright has continued to be his reliable self. Miles Mikolas has shown flashes while Steven Matz rebounded from a bad first start following a blister issue. Jordan Hicks has impressed early on while Dakota Hudson has struggled to start the season.
Like we just wrote, the Cardinals are going to have midseason trade flexibility. They have room to add payroll during the season. And if they indeed target starting pitching upgrades at the trade deadline, a logical target will be Oakland A’s right-hander Frankie Montas.
Montas, 29, went 13-9 with a 3.37 ERA last season with 207 strikeouts (a new career-high) while making a league-leading 32 starts. He was a strong candidate to be traded before the season, but the A’s instead traded Sean Manaea to the Padres, making Montas the most attractive starter on the trade market. It also helps that he will not be a rental – he’s signed through 2023 – so he would come with at least 1.5 years of control.
That also makes his expected price tag that much higher, which makes it rather unlikely that he ends up in a Cardinals uniform. In other trade talks, they asked the Chicago White Sox for prized young outfielder/infielder Andrew Vaughn, which they balked at. If the A’s are asking for Vaughn, it’s likely it will take one of Nolan Gorman or Jordan Walker to acquire Montas.
Which makes him a rather unlikely trade target. He would greatly improve the Cardinals’ rotation, of course, but look for them to go shopping elsewhere unless the A’s price tag comes down.