Yankees extend second chance to Montas: Will he make a game-changing impact?

Frenkie Montas, player of the New York Yankees
Amanda Paula
Saturday September 30, 2023

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In a bygone era, Frankie Montas was anticipated to be a game-changer for the New York Yankees. After an impressive 2021 season that earned him consideration for the Cy Young Award, the Yankees acquired Montas from the Oakland Athletics during the 2022 Trade Deadline. Unfortunately, Montas struggled in his eight starts with the Yankees, posting a dismal 6.35 ERA and .838 OPS against. His season was further marred by a shoulder injury that had been nagging him since before the trade. Montas made a lone postseason appearance during the ALCS against the Houston Astros, giving up a home run.

Despite the setbacks, the Yankees held hope for Montas’s resurgence in 2023, as they had him under team control for another year and a half. However, early in February 2023, the team announced that Montas would require arthroscopic shoulder surgery, sidelining him for most of the season. This injury forced the Yankees to rely on their pitching depth, a depth that had already been tested by injuries to Carlos Rodón, Nestor Cortes, Domingo Germán, and Luis Severino.

Yankees’ Trade Deadline move for Montas

Nevertheless, there’s a glimmer of hope as Montas makes his 2023 debut for the Yankees, albeit late in the season and after the team’s elimination from playoff contention. This return is a commendable achievement considering the challenges he faced during his recovery from shoulder surgery, and it could be crucial for his upcoming free agency. There have even been rumors of a potential incentive-laden reunion with the Yankees for the following year.

However, the irony and humor in this situation are hard to ignore. Frenkie Montas wanted to stay, but the possibility of a Yankees’ Trade Deadline move for him to bolster their pitching staff ended up with a series of unfortunate events.

The decision-making at the Yankees, driven by their focus on the luxury tax, has led to questionable moves, including contract extensions for Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu. These moves have not paid off, as Hicks remains on the payroll despite not playing, and LeMahieu’s performance has declined.

The Yankees find themselves at a crossroads, where the success of their young players and the performance of their pitching staff in 2024 will determine their competitiveness. Pursuing high-priced free agents like Cody Bellinger, Shohei Ohtani, or Juan Soto may not be the solution, as the team needs more than one star player to contend.

Instead, the Yankees should focus on strengthening their roster with strategic moves, including acquiring left-handed hitters like Bryson Stott, Brendan Donovan, CJ Abrams, Jeimer Candelario, or Ryan McMahon. These additions could enhance the team’s offensive capabilities.

The team also needs to invest in its young talent, with Anthony Volpe, Oswald Cabrera, Jasson Dominguez, and Austin Wells expected to contribute. Additionally, pitching improvements can come from within, with the emergence of pitchers like Michael King and Jhony Brito.

While the Yankees should consider adding a veteran starter, they should be cautious about committing to long-term contracts. Short-term deals for starters like Hyun Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda, or Kyle Gibson could provide stability without compromising the team’s future flexibility.

In the bullpen, the Yankees must address their need for a left-handed reliever and evaluate the health and performance of their returning pitchers.

Ultimately, the Yankees’ path to success in 2024 lies in a combination of smart roster moves, the development of their young talent, and careful financial planning. It’s a challenging task, but one that could put the team back on the path to contention.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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