With Luis Castillo now on his way to Seattle following last night’s trade to the Mariners, Frankie Montas stands out as perhaps the best and likeliest arm left to be traded before Tuesday’s 5pm CT deadline. The majority of teams that held interest in Castillo are involved, to varying extents, in the Montas market, so it’s possible that last night’s deal begins to accelerate the pace of the pitching market overall.
The Yankees, for instance, were known to be Castillo suitors but have now made Montas their top target according to both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter links). The Cardinals, who never seemed likely to be able to land Castillo from a fellow NL Central club, are continuing their pursuit of Montas, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Their pursuit, however, is complicated a bit by simultaneous interest in Nationals superstar Juan Soto; Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes in his latest column that some of the Cardinals prospects the A’s are targeting in return for Montas are also coveted by the Nationals.
Several other clubs were linked to both Montas and Castillo in the past week, including the Twins, Padres and Blue Jays. There are also surely other clubs on the periphery of the market whose presence isn’t publicly known. Both Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and Rosenthal have indicated, for instance, that the Rangers had engaged with the Reds in talks regarding Castillo. Whether the A’s would seriously entertain sending Montas to a division rival isn’t clear, but it’s telling that Texas is in the market for arms that can be controlled into 2023.
The Athletics’ asking price on Montas was reportedly quite high even before last night’s trade of Castillo potentially upped Oakland’s leverage in talks. In profiling the Cardinals’ current rotation needs, Katie Woo of The Athletic wrote (prior to the Castillo deal) that Oakland is believed to be seeking a pair of top prospects and “potentially a currently rostered player with substantial team control remaining.” It’s a steep ask, to be sure, though not an unrealistic one given Montas’ trade value.