How Frankie Montas’ injury impacts the St. Louis Cardinals

rmurray2
Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Houston Astros at RingCentral Coliseum on September 24, 2021 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Astros 14-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Houston Astros at RingCentral Coliseum on September 24, 2021 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Astros 14-2. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

How star right-hander Frankie Montas’ shoulder injury impacts the St. Louis Cardinals — and every contender as they await MRI results.

There have been ranging reports on the likelihood that the St. Louis Cardinals trade for Oakland A’s ace Frankie Montas, with MLB Insider Buster Olney calling them the favorite to acquire the right-hander while local reports tempering expectations.

I’m of the belief that Montas is unlikely to end up with the Cardinals. But Montas left his start on Saturday after only one inning. His velocity, which usually sits 96-97 mph, was 93-94 while it topped out at 94.5 mph. He was diagnosed with tightness in the back of his right shoulder and he is scheduled to receive an MRI on Tuesday, though manager Mark Kotsay told reporters that he remains optimistic about Montas’ status.

The seriousness of Montas’ injury could alter the course of the trade market. If the injury is confirmed to be minor, it should have little-to-no impact. If his injury keeps him out a couple weeks or perhaps even longer, it may take the best player off the trade market and bump Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle to the two best pitchers available.

And if that’s the case, things would get tricky for the Cardinals. Because both Castillo and Mahle play for the Cincinnati Reds and it’s unlikely that they would want to trade their two best pitchers to a division rival. Of course, the Reds front office wouldn’t eliminate the possibility altogether and would talk to the Cardinals about making a deal. But they would set a higher asking price in talks with St. Louis than they would with other teams, making a deal unlikely.

Which would mean that the Cardinals, who need starting pitching help, would not land Montas, Castillo or Mahle. The front office has proven to be creative in acquiring starting pitchers, evidenced by the J.A. Happ and Jon Lester last year, and might be forced to do so once again this year. And quite honestly, I do not expect them to land any of the three listed above even if they are all healthy.

But Montas’ injury could have ramifications that extend beyond the Cardinals. It could impact every contending team, with many eyes on just what the MRI results reveal for the star right-hander. And answers should be coming any hour.

Next. 5 most untouchable players on the St. Louis Cardinals in trade talks. dark

facebooktwitterreddit